Wonder how Australia's Great Barrier Reef is doing? There's some good news!
Everyone knows and loves Terra's biggest coral reef. Recently it's been ravaged by acidification and climate change - but there's hope!
Normally, corals are colorful (duh!). But in recent years, as the average global temperature increases, the oceans have been suffering from periodic heat waves. Corals are highly sensitive to environmental changes, and many - such as those in the Barrier Reef - have been unable to cope. This is resulting in mass bleaching, in which the corals expel their symbiotic algae in times of stress. The algae give corals their color, which is why bleaching makes them appear white. Since corals rely on the algae for most of their energy, bleaching leaves them highly susceptible to starvation and disease.
However, the Barrier Reef, or at least part of it, is starting to recover. Two-thirds of the reef is seeing the highest coral growth in almost four decades, according to a recent report. While the northern and central regions are beginning to recover, the southern regions are still bleaching and under attack by a rogue infection of crown-of-thorns sea stars.
This stunning amount of coral growth is good news not just for the Great Barrier Reef, but for ecosystems worldwide. Chances are, if the reef can recover even after all the damage it's suffered, other ecosystems can, too, provided the assaults from climate change, pollution, overfishing/hunting, etc. cease.
Let this report be a message to humanity: We may not be at the point of no return yet, but we're getting close. It's time to clean up our act now!
Read more about the report here!