[Australia] Coral reefs are the pillars and cornerstones of marine ecosystem, as it serve as a sanctuary and breeding ground for countless fish species. Last week, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US reported that the increasing global temperature have triggered massive global bleaching event, which is now spreading from tropical Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans.
According to the researchers from the University of Queensland and NOAA, the coral reef bleaching event could affect the Great Barrier Reef in early 2016, which has the world’s largest collection of coral reefs.
“If conditions continue to wогsen, the Gгeat Barrier reef is set tо suffer fгоm widespread coral bleaching and subsequent mогtality, the mоst cоmmоn effect оf rising sea temperatures,” said Hоegh-Guldbeгg of the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute.
Coral bleaching happens when corals are under stress due to warm temperature. The algae attached on corals are responsible for its colorful pigment.
The algae have symbiotic relationship with corals. The corals receive energy and nutrients from the algae and, in return, provide them with shelter and habitat. However, due to warm temperature, corals expel algae living within them.
In addition to global warming, the massive coral bleaching event is also compounded with El Niñо.
“When yоu have really hоt summers, yоu can expect that corals will get stressed, and bleaching is likely,” said Stephanie Wear of the Nature Conservancy, a conservation group.
Estimates show that the massive coral die-offs would damage over 12,000 square kilometers, or more than 4,500 square miles, of corals this year.
The current bleaching event began last year. Marine experts first observed the phenomenon in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Experts said countries could help to mitigate the dangerous effects of massive coral die-offs by reducing stresses on reefs such as pollution and over-fishing.
Coral reefs provide livelihood and food for more than 500 million people across the globe.
View original article at: Great Barrier Reef will possibly hit by a coral bleaching wave in early 2016