Scientists struggling to prevent total wipeout of crucial coral reefs

Scientists struggling to prevent total wipeout of crucial coral reefs

Following a recent aerial survey of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, scientists are trying to find new ways to prevent a possible total wipeout of the coral reefs.

The aerial survey showed that the Great Barrier Reef is experiencing widespread coral bleaching for the second year in a row, indicating that water temperatures remained too warm to allow corals to recover from last year’s bleaching.

Scientists warned that several coral species are now more susceptible to bleaching after more than twelve months of continued above-average ocean temperatures.

The Australian Institute of Marine Sciences’ Neal Cantin said, “We are seeing a decrease in the stress tolerance of these corals. This is the first time the Great Barrier Reef has not had a few years between bleaching events to recover.”

Scientists have also cautioned that coral bleaching could return in the South Pacific soon, along with the possibility of reoccurrence of the same problem in the eastern as well as western parts of the Indian Ocean.

Coral bleaching takes place when corals that live in tropical waters start releasing colorful algae from their tissues, exposing their white, calcium carbonate-made skeletons. Death of corals eventually degrades the reef, leaving fish without habitats and coastlines unprotected from storm surges.