Coral Reefs In Great Barrier Reef:
According to the Australian Institute of Marine Science’s (AIMS) annual long-term monitoring report, Australia’s northern and central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has experienced high levels of coral reef cover over the past 36 years.
- The researchers also warned that the gains could be quickly reversed due to rising global temperatures.
Key highlights of Report:
- It states that reef systems are resilient and capable of recovering after disturbances such as accumulated heat stress, cyclones, predatory attacks.
- It shows record levels of region-wide coral cover in the northern and central GBR since the first ever Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) survey was done.
- Coral cover is measured by determining the increase in the cover of hard corals.
- The hard coral cover in northern Great Barrier Reef had reached 36% while that in the central region had reached 33%.
- Meanwhile, coral cover levels declined in the southern region from 38% in 2021 to 34% in 2022.
- The high level of recovery is fueled by the increase in the fast-growing Acropora corals, which are a dominant type in the Great Barrier Reef.
- Incidentally, these fast-growing corals are also the most susceptible to environmental pressures such as rising temperatures, cyclones, pollution, crown-of-thorn starfish (COTs) attacks which prey on hard corals and so on.
- Also, behind the recent recovery in parts of the reef, are the low levels of acute stressors in the past 12 months — no tropical cyclones, lesser heat stress in 2020 and 2022 as opposed to 2016 and 2017, and a decrease in COTs outbreaks.