Coral dead north of Port Douglas
Great Barrier Reef: Most coral now dead north of Port Douglas off far north Queensland, scientists say
Posted on 03.11.2016
Eighty to 100 per cent of coral reefs surrounding Lizard Island off far north Queensland are now dead as a result of coral bleaching, scientists say.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University visited 83 reefs stretching from Townsville to the Torres Strait earlier this year and revealed the worst recorded mass bleaching event in the reef’s history.
Professor Andrew Baird said researchers conducted the same survey this month and had already visited the first 50 reefs between Townsville and Lizard Island.
He said the results were confronting.
“What we’re seeing now is lots and lots of dead corals,” he said.
“On most of the sites around Lizard Island between 80 to 100 per cent of corals are gone — there’s not much coral at all, north of Port Douglas”.
What is coral bleaching?
- Occurs when abnormal environmental conditions cause coral to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae
- Loss of colourful algae causes coral to turn white and “bleach”
- Bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops and zooxanthellae are able to recolonise them, otherwise it may die
Source: ARC Centre of Excellence
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