areas Great Barrier Reef According to a government report released on Thursday, August 4, Australia has more coral reefs for the first time in decades, however, which raises alarm from scientists.
According to the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the northern and central parts of this vast UNESCO heritage site saw a significant increase in coral reefs last year for the first time in 36 years, the date the monitor was established.
A “vulnerable reef”
Scientists in charge of the 87 sites say the reefs recovered faster than expected, thanks in part to the rapid growth of coral reefs.Acropora“, which participates in the formation of coral reefs.”These results demonstrate that the reef can still recover during periods without severe disturbance.Australian Institute of Marine Science chief executive Paul Hardisty said.
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But far from claiming victory, he believes hurricanes, bleaching events and the appearance of coral-eating starfish could easily put an end to this progress. As a result, the southern part of the rock, which was disturbed a year ago, is collapsing again. “This shows how vulnerable the reef is to frequent and long-lasting severe and severe disturbances“, he declared.
Coral cover reached 36% at monitored sites on the northern side of the reef, up from 27% in 2021. The statistics are not more encouraging in the south. In the central region, the increase is less significant and in the south their numbers are decreasing. For decades, the Great Barrier Reef has sufferedWhiteningThe spread of coral-killing starfish has also taken its toll due to warming ocean temperatures.
Coral reefs are still in danger
Many fear an acceleration in the rate of damage that could lead to total destruction of the reef. According to marine scientist Terry Hughes, the species behind this recovery are the most vulnerable to ocean warming. “It’s probably just replacing the big, old, slow-growing corals that define the reef,” he believes.No longer possible“.
Joe Richards, a researcher at Curtin University, cautioned against being too optimistic. “This recovery trend is driven by a few Acropora species and means that the next heat stress event could easily destroy these coral communities again.“, according to her.
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