Great Barrier Reef suffers for second year, enters 'unchartered territory'

  • Great Barrier Reef suffers for second year, enters 'unchartered territory'

Great Barrier Reef suffers for second year, enters 'unchartered territory'

He also noted that the photos taken showed almost 100 percent of the corals have been bleaching. Their efforts include trying to understand why some corals survive in warm water in hopes of breeding them or sharing their secrets with other corals.

The back-to-back occurrence of widespread bleaching also meant there was insufficent time for corals to fully recover, Neal Cantin from the Australian Institute of Marine Science said. Also, there is no way to know how many could recover as algae have been overgrowing on numerous corals already.

Garner, who has been documenting the bleaching with Greenpeace, said: "I've been photographing this area of the reef for several years now and what we're seeing is unprecedented".

Coral bleaching is the event in which the symbiotic relationship between the algae and the coral is damaged, and the algae are lost, leading the coral to lose its colorful pigment and subsequently die.

Coral reefs are a beloved natural wonder but less appreciated is that they also directly support the jobs, livelihoods and food supplies of many millions of people.

For the second consecutive year, Australia's Great Barrier Reef is experiencing mass coral bleaching.

'We are on target to be two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half degrees warmer by the end of the century, which is not a good target for our reefs, ' he said.

"Just a few months ago, these corals were full of colour and life".

"There is no doubt that if we do not get our act together globally we will have serious damage to the barrier reef, we could see the barrier reef lose a huge amount of biodiversity, when you look at the Cayman islands they have about 30 species of coral and we have 300". This followed severe bleaching along the 1,500-mile stretch of reefs previous year - the worst on record - caused by warm sea temperatures in March and April.

"What's happening with global warming is that these events are becoming the new normal", he told BuzzFeed News.

"Wachenfeld said it has not yet been made clear how this year's bleaching compared with last year". The death rate of coral will be determined in the next six months.

"While the reef is fighting for its life, the Australian government is funding its destruction".

Hughes will engage in seven days of flying, to criss-cross the entire Great Barrier Reef from next week, to ascertain the extent of the bleaching after a similar journey past year saw him uncover similar severe damage.

Coral bleaching has been known to occur in abnormally high sea temperatures, as the corals expel tiny photosynthetic algae that turn them into white.