Catastrophic Coral Loss: 97% of Lizard Island Reef Devastated by Bleaching

A new analysis has revealed that at least 97% of corals on a reef in the northern Great Barrier Reef perished during one of the most severe coral bleaching events ever recorded for the world’s most extensive reef system. Using high-resolution drone imagery, scientists from various institutions meticulously tracked the bleaching and subsequent death of corals at Lizard Island’s North Point reef.

This alarming discovery follows UNESCO’s call for the Australian government to swiftly release data on the extent of coral mortality from last summer’s mass bleaching. This event, marking the fifth in just eight years, saw unprecedented heat stress levels across parts of the World Heritage-listed reef.

Marine biologist Prof. Jane Williamson from Macquarie University, who was involved in the analysis, expressed her shock at the findings. Meanwhile, Australia’s environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, hailed UNESCO’s decision not to list the reef as “in danger” as a significant victory for the nation. However, Unesco emphasized the need for Australia to enhance its climate targets and curb land clearing, stressing the urgency of making the full extent of the coral damage public. Read More

News Credit: The Guardian

Picture Credit: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

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