The Great Barrier Reef is suffering, and each year is a battle. New research promises to shed light on the reef’s future, especially on its coral populations.
A team of researchers supervised by Dr. Andy Dietzel, from the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoralCoE), released a statement saying that there are many studies on the changes in the structure of populations of humans, but not enough about coral populations.
What the team managed to examine and find is truly astonishing. Here is what you need to know.
The Great Barrier Reef Research: What to Expect
The team realized a series of measurements for changes in colony sizes. Such a thing was mandatory because population researches are significant for comprehending the corals’ capacity to breed.
Researchers evaluated coral communities and their colony dimension along the Great Barrier Reef between 1995 and 2017. What they discovered is a high reduction of coral populations.
“[…] small, medium, and large corals on the Great Barrier Reef has declined by more than 50 % since the 1990s,” explained Professor Terry Hughes, the co-author of the study.
The reduction happened in both deeper and shallow water and across all species. However, the table-shaped and branching corals were the most affected by the record-breaking temperatures that influence mass bleaching back in 2016 and 2017.
Those types of corals are known for their significant structures for reef inhabitants like fish. The tragic loss means loss of habitat, reduced coral reef fisheries, and a diminished fish abundance. According to researchers, one of the necessary implications of coral size is its effect on breeding and survival.
Climate change also increases the frequency of reef disturbances, such as marine heatwaves, and we must lower greenhouse gas emissions now to try and save the Great Barrier Reef. We still have time if we care enough!
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