Biggest Ever Coral Die-Off Recorded On Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
It is estimated that warm seas have killed nearly two-thirds of a 700 km stretch of coral in the reef’s north in the past nine months. This is the worst die-off ever recorded in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and is said to be the largest ever recorded anywhere. It is expected to give a major blow to the tourism in the region.
Bleaching of Coral occurs when the sea becomes too warm. Warm seas cause Corals to expel living algae and calcify turning into white. Scientists are concerned that climate change is killing the barrier reef. Rising temperatures by global warming increase the damage to the coral reefs harming the sensitive underwater ecosystem. Due to its dependence on coal-fired power plants for energy needs, Australia has become one of the largest carbon emitters per capita.
Coral reefs are huge deposits made up dead shells and secretions of marine organisms like Corals, Calcareous algae, stomato pteroids, gastropods Molluscs etc. The deposits are mostly made up of Calcium Carbonate. Conditions required for their growth: Warm tropical oceans located between 30 degree north and 25 degree south latitudes where a minimum temperature of 20 degree is found and this temperature favour the growth of coral organisms; Oceanic water free of sedimentation; Transparent parts of ocean bodies; Relatively low salinity ocean bodies.
The Great Barrier Reef is the biggest coral reef in the world. It was recorded as a World Heritage site in 1981. The reef is located in the Coral Sea and covers an area of approximately 348,000 sq km. It is visible from the outer space and is credited as the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms.