OCT 15, 2019 3:56 PM PDT

The Great Barrier Reef is Disappearing, and Here's Why

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Most people think of the Great Barrier Reef as a single, massive coral reef off the coast of Australia, but it isn’t. Instead, this beautiful underwater bouquet is comprised of a collection of smaller coral reef clusters, and for those who’ve never seen it in person, it’s truly a sight to behold.

The Great Barrier Reef is more than just a pretty sight; it also serves a functional purpose for the ocean by supporting a diverse ecosystem of fish and marine animals that depend on the reef’s seemingly endless entanglements to evade predation by larger fish.

Regrettably, despite the Great Barrier Reef’s importance to the marine ecosystem, scientists suggest that it might not be around for long. Rising ocean temperatures are purportedly exacerbating a destructive process known to science as coral bleaching, which as the name suggests, results in a dead and white coral reef.

As the ocean warms up, the corals expel their colorful symbiotic algae into the surrounding waters. This is bad because the algae provide corals with vital nutrients, and without them, the corals starve and lose their color as they fade away. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this isn’t good for the surrounding ecosystem either.

Bleaching events used to be somewhat infrequent, but soon after the 1980s, they became a lot more common. One bleaching event in particular, which transpired in 2017, inflicted severe damage to the Great Barrier Reef, and scientists still aren’t sure if it will ever fully recover.

As ocean temperatures continue to soar, scientists predict that the Great Barrier Reef as we know it could case to exist by 2050. Not only is this alarming to environmentalists, but to make matters worse, experts aren’t entirely sure if we can stop this from happening.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 02, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
In a First, Researchers Edit Cephalopod Genes
AUG 02, 2020
In a First, Researchers Edit Cephalopod Genes
Using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, researchers have knocked out a gene in a cephalopod for the first time.
AUG 24, 2020
Plants & Animals
Active Dogs Are Less Fearful But Breed is Also a Major Factor
AUG 24, 2020
Active Dogs Are Less Fearful But Breed is Also a Major Factor
Most dog owners are familiar with some common triggers of anxiety and fear in their pets, like new situations, loud nois ...
AUG 27, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Understanding How Animals Make Seasonal Adaptations
AUG 27, 2020
Understanding How Animals Make Seasonal Adaptations
Some animals don't need a new wardrobe to change with the seasons, and scientists have now learned more about how they d ...
SEP 21, 2020
Neuroscience
Scientists Compare Structural and Functional Evolution with First Atlas of Cavefish Brains
SEP 21, 2020
Scientists Compare Structural and Functional Evolution with First Atlas of Cavefish Brains
Cavefish are fish that dwell in caves, unable to access the outside world. Often, they were separated from their closest ...
OCT 07, 2020
Plants & Animals
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
OCT 07, 2020
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
For the first time in about 3,000 years, Tasmanian devils have returned to mainland Australia. According to a report fro ...
OCT 26, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
When Exposed to Estrogen, Fish Generate Fewer Males
OCT 26, 2020
When Exposed to Estrogen, Fish Generate Fewer Males
Life on earth relies on clean water, something that is becoming more scarce. Researchers have found that if water is con ...
Loading Comments...