Is the Great Barrier Reef part of your bucket list? Then, you would have come across several stories circulating online that claim that the Great Barrier Reef is dead. Worry not, the Great Barrier Reef is not yet dead but it perilously close to danger.
For those who are unfamiliar, the Great Barrier Reef is a 1400 mile long living coral shelf along the coasts of Australia. Famous writer Rowan Jacobsen has written an obituary for this great natural wonder and this is what has triggered all the hoopla about the reef being dead. Rowan Jacobsen in this obituary mentions that the reef is one of the most spectacular natural features on the entire planet. Before you start drafting your own obituaries for this great natural wonder, scientists who are a part of the study of coral reefs caution you to take a deep breath and slow down.
The news surrounding the real status of the coral reefs are not good however the situation is not as dire as the obituary claims. Kim Cobb a senior professor at Georgia’s Tech School for Earth and Atmospheric Sciences states that there is still hope for the reef and asks people to put an end to the misconception floating in the online world. The article doesn’t consider the science behind coral resilience.
We give you an extract from his interview with the LA times.
Is the reef really dead?
No, the reefs are now undergoing what is called as a bleaching. However, from past studies, it has been found that the corals have the capability to come back to life.
So is there nothing to worry about bleaching of corals?
Corals are animals and it exists in a symbiotic relationship with algae. The algae supply food for the corals, while the corals provide a home for the algae. So now during bleaching what we are seeing is actually corals without algae. So bleached corals aren’t dead and there is still hope.
These are all warning bells for us to take better care of our environment.