The Great Barrier Reef is still alive, as specialists state.
(Mirror Daily, United States) News on the dying Great Barrier Reef has been going around on the Internet these days. However, specialists account that there are still chances for the reef to survive. They also assure us that the mighty coral structure is not dead yet, although it is true that the situation is critical.
The rumors that the Great Barrier Reef ceased to exist were fueled by article stories based on mere estimations. However, no scientist or researcher declared that the Australian coral structure exists no longer.
The main reason why the Great Barrier Reef is threatened is global warming. The greenhouse effect is rising temperatures both in the air and the seas and oceans around the world. The warm waters affect the aquatic ecosystems, as both plants and animals are not used to this type of environment. The corals at the Great Barrier Reef are no exception.
Reefs are made up of coral colonies. Corals are invertebrate which develop a strong relation with marine algae. The colorful plants attach to the corals and provide them with food during their photosynthesis process. Corals and algae make together the ideal home for many fish species, of different sizes, shapes, and colors. All of these elements contribute to the biodiversity of the ecosystem.
However, warming waters interfere with this well-organized system. The inappropriate temperatures determine algae to produce more oxygen that usual, which disturbs the corals. This is why they have a very aggressive reaction towards the plants and reject them. Once they are gone, new ones can get attached, but if the same phenomenon happens again, corals will reject them too.
When algae leave corals, they are left without their colors and their main source of food. If algae don’t return to corals, they die within a few months. The phenomenon is called coral bleaching. Scientists studied it in the labs as well, by simulating the effects of climate change in a tank with corals.
Researchers explain that, for the time being, only twenty-two percent of the Great Barrier Reef is affected by global warming and coral bleaching. Australian authorities intend to invest large sums of money in the saving and recovery of the coral system, which is one of the most amazing structures in the natural world.
Specialists account for the fact that the Great Barrier Reef will still be around for quite some time. However, the conservation strategies will be put into force as soon as possible, as officials announce.
Image courtesy of: Flickr