In the past 30 years, the Great Barrier Reef has lost almost 50% of its corals, says a study

In the past 30 years, the Great Barrier Reef has lost almost 50% of its corals, says a study

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the largest reef system in the world. It is home to a wide range of corals which is quite important for our ecosystem. But according to a recent study, in the past three decades, the reef has lost almost half of its coral population.

The study was conducted by the researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Queensland, Australia. The study was conducted between 1995 and 2017 and the researchers assessed the coral communities and their colony size in the reef which comprises 2900 individual reeds and 900 islands spread over 2300 km (length of the Great Barrier Reef)!

In the study, it was found that the number of small, medium and large corals have significantly reduced during the period of 30 years. The reef, located in the Coral Sea of Queensland is so big that it can be seen from outer space.

Terry Hughes, a co-author of the study, said, “We used to think the Great Barrier Reef is protected by its sheer size, but our results show that even the world’s largest and relatively well-protected reef system is increasingly compromised and in decline.”

The researchers saw and recorded steep decline of coral colonies in the northern and central regions of the reef after the mass coral bleaching took place in the year 2016 and 2017. Scientists doing the study also warned that because of climate change, “reef disturbances” have been caused like marine heatwaves. Also record breaking temperatures were in the southern part of the reef in early 2020 which is not a good sign.

About the reef

The Great Barrier Reef is also renowned for being the biggest single structure made by living organisms in the whole wide world. Given its natural uniqueness and importance, the reef was declared a World Heritage Site in 1981. The reef is built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps and it also supports a huge diversity of life.

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