The Great Barrier Reef has been hit by a massive bleaching event, and the federal government is warning the world that there could be “significant consequences” for global shipping and shipping markets.
The reef’s corals are “disappearing rapidly”, said Kevin Cockerham, director of the Great Barrier Coral Reef Marine Park Authority.
“It is extremely concerning that we have not had a global bleaching, but the coral is showing signs of the impact of a global event,” he said on Monday.
“We have a number of areas where the corals appear to be at risk of dying.”
The event began on February 18 and lasted through March 16, when temperatures reached 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit), according to NOAA data.
“The coral is rapidly disappearing from these waters and it is affecting the coralline algae that grows on the coralfish,” Cockeringham said.
“There are areas where we are seeing the numbers of corals decreasing rapidly.”
This has caused some areas of the reef to go completely dry and in some places the coralls have been entirely reduced.
“In some cases, they have also been completely wiped out.”
Cockerham warned the Great Australian Bight, which stretches between the Great Sandy and the Great Pyrenees, could face a similar crisis.
“What we are really seeing is that corallines are dying in a massive way,” he told the ABC.
“A lot of these corallinine algae species are already dead.
It’s just now showing up in some of the areas that have had the bleaching.”
He said this had happened in a number to the Great South Downs, but not in the Great Bight.
The Great Barrier reef is home to some of Australia’s most endangered marine life, including some species of corallinus, the marine algae that make up the reef’s coral.
“They have been very well-studied, and we are not seeing any sign of this coral dying in these areas,” Cockcroft said.
“The bleaching has been so severe that some areas have gone completely dry, in some cases completely wiped down.”
And in some areas, corallinas have been completely destroyed.
“So it’s just very worrying that we are still seeing corallinoas dying in such numbers in these places.”‘
We have not seen any corallinae dying’The Queensland Government said it was “extremely concerned” about the decline in corallinos in the state’s Great Barrier, Great Southern Downs and Great Southern Shelf.
“Our coral reef is one of the most important and vulnerable ecosystems in the world and it’s really important that we maintain the resilience of the coral ecosystem to the threat posed by climate change,” Queensland Minister for Climate Change Josh Frydenberg said.
He said the state would be releasing a report in the coming days.
“I think what we need to be focusing on is the coral decline and the reef in general,” he added.
“If we don’t make some changes to the reef we will see corallini disappear in the future.”
While it’s important to note the reef is already being damaged, this is not unprecedented.