Tuesday, December 4, 2018


Accident Leads to Incredible Discovery, Regrowing Coral Reefs Like Never Before

When you have a task to complete, many times it seems best to hunker down and focus solely on finishing that task until it's done. Whether that's writing a novel, making sales calls or writing lesson plans, putting everything else out of your mind and getting to work is a proven means to accomplish your goals.

When you have blinders or tunnel vision, though, you often forget to stop to smell the roses or see what's going on around you and what valuable lessons or insights you might be missing.

Plenty of scientists have made discoveries by accident, and have found useful inventions or information in their pursuit of something completely different. That's how we've gotten duct tape, super glue and even microwaves.

Now another scientist, Dr. David Vaughan, has made a discovery that could potentially regrow coral reefs in a fraction of the time it would normally take. According to BBC, it started with brokenness.

"Little did I know that one elkhorn coral attached itself to the bottom of the aquarium," Vaughan said. "So when I went to move it, it stuck, and I heard a breaking sound."

"And it had broken into many tiny pieces. They grew back to the same size in just a few weeks that it had taken three years to grow."

Upon realizing what this could mean, he tested it out on more and more species of coral until he confirmed that this fragmentation method worked brilliantly with all of the Florida Keys varieties.

The painstaking process of growing coral has been obliterated by this discovery. Under normal conditions, it can take corals up to seven decades to reach maturity; now, it could take as few as three.

Being able to regrow corals nearly 40 times faster than before means a lot of reefs could be restored.

"Corals the size of a small car could be 200-500 years old, so it might take centuries for it to come back. We now take a coral the size of a golf ball and cut it into 20 to 100 microfragments," Vaughan said.

"Each fragment grows back to that size in as little as a few months, and when they touch each other as they're growing, they recognize each other as themselves and fuse back together."

Vaughan has some big plans for the future and has even stayed on longer so he can see the coral reefs regrown.

"This is now a new discovery that can give real hope for our coral reefs that has never been there before," he told BBC. "So I postponed my retirement until I see a million corals replanted back on the reef."

SOURCE 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018



Coral Reef Island Initiation and Development Under Higher Than Present Sea Levels

Higher sea levels will cause some coral islands to GROW

H. K. East et al.

Abstract

Coral reef islands are considered to be among the most vulnerable environments to future sea level rise. However, emerging data suggest that different island types, in contrasting locations, have formed under different conditions in relation to past sea level. Uniform assumptions about reef island futures under sea level rise may thus be inappropriate. Using chronostratigraphic analysis from atoll rim islands(sand- and gravel-based) in the southern Maldives, we show that while island building initiated at different times around the atoll (~2,800 and~4,200 calibrated years before present at windward and leeward rimsites, respectively), higher than present sea levels and associated high-energy wave events were actually critical to island initiation. Findings thus suggest that projected sea level rise and increases in the magnitude of distal high-energy wave events could reactivate this process regime, which, if there is an appropriate sediment supply, may facilitate further vertical reef island building.

Plain Language Summary

The habitability of reef island nations under climate change is a debatedand controversial subject. Improving understanding of reef island responses to past environmental changeprovides important insights into how islands may respond to future environmental change. It is typically assumed that all reef islands will respond to environmental change in the same manner, but suchassumptions fail to acknowledge that reef islands are diverse landforms that have formed under different sealevel histories and across a range of settings. Here we reconstruct reef island evolution in two contrastingsettings (in terms of exposure to open ocean swell) in the southern Maldives. Important differences in islanddevelopment are evident between these settings in the timings, sedimentology, and modes of islandbuilding, even at local scales. This implies that island responses to climate change may be equally diverse and site-specific. We present evidence that island initiation was associated with higher than present sea levelsand high-energy wave events. Projected increases in sea level and the magnitude of such high-energy waveevents could therefore recreate the environmental conditions under which island formation occurred. If thereis a suitable sediment supply, this could result in vertical island-building, which may enhance reef island future resilience.

SOURCE



Monday, November 5, 2018


Could our reefs be saved after all? Weed-like cauliflower coral has evolved unique immunity genes that means it could survive global warming

So a very vigorous coral is a "weed".  The Green/Left never miss a chance at negativity.  And saying it has developed "immune" responses to survive is a stretch.  Starfish, lowered water levels, and  unexpected heat variations are the big enemies of coral, not viruses and bacteria

A common coral has evolved unique strategies to cope with environmental change. Scientists say the cauliflower coral - which is traditionally thought of as a weed - could be one of the only corals to survive dramatic changes in the climate.

As one of the most abundant and widespread reef-building corals in the world it could be crucial to the future survival of the world's reefs, scientists found.

Researchers from the University of Miami say the common coral species might have evolved unique immune strategies to cope with environmental change.

Roughly 30 per cent of the cauliflower coral's (Pocillopora damicornis) genome was unique compared to several other reef-building corals.

This adaptation could be crucial for the long-term survival of coral reefs as climate change and ocean acidification continue to ravage the oceans.

'This coral is traditionally thought of as a weed, and yet it may be one of the last corals to survive environmental changes such as climate change,' said senior author of the study Nikki Traylor-Knowles, an assistant professor of marine biology and ecology at the University of Miami.

To conduct the research, scientists extracted and sequenced the genomic DNA from two healthy fragments and two bleached fragments of P. damicornis.

Their genome was then compared to publicly available genomes for several other coral species.

'The study shows that this is an important coral with a very complex and unique immune system, which may explain why it is able to survive in so many different locations,' said the paper's lead author Ross Cunning who is now a researcher at Shedd Aquarium.

The results suggest that the evolution of an innate immune system has been a defining feature of the success of hard corals like P. damicornis.

The immune system of corals, like humans, is vital to protect overall health and deal with changes in its surroundings.

If an animal has a stronger immune system then it will be better equipped to deal with environmental changes.

These new findings, published in Scientific Reports, suggest that some corals have many more immunity genes than would be expected.

'This study helps us better understand how corals deal with stress,' said Dr Traylor-Knowles.

'Its complex immune system indicates that it may have the tools to deal with environmental change much more easily than other corals.'

SOURCE 


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Sunday, November 4, 2018


Grim reef bleaching forecast

Prophecies, prophecies. They do this forecast most years.  I come from Australia's Far North, adjoining the reef, and I can in fact remember such earnest forecasts from when I was a kid --60 years ago.  But the reef is still there, much the same as ever.  It has ups and downs but it always bounces back.  It has bounced back recently in fact, something not mentioned below -- which is why they stick to prophecy

Predictions that the Great Barrier Reef could suffer severe coral bleaching by the end of summer is an urgent warning for the Federal Government to take immediate climate action, says the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

The US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) tentative forecast, out today, predicts the entire reef has a 60 percent chance of being subject to "bleaching alert level one"—meaning bleaching is likely— by March 2019, with possible coral mortality in some areas.

“How much more of the Great Barrier Reef has to die before the Federal Government acts on climate change?,” said AMCS spokesperson Imogen Zethoven.

“While our Reef is in danger, our politicians continue to ignore the issue of climate change with no credible plan to reduce pollution.

Parts of the southern half of the Reef are on higher alert with coral mortality likely in some areas, according to NOAA. An El Niño event could increase the odds of a severe bleaching event.

“The Reef is already suffering heat impacts. Add drought, bushfires and heatwaves into the mix and all Queenslanders, including our marine life, are in for a tough summer,” said Zethoven.

“The government’s claims that it is looking after the Reef—and the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on this—ultimately count for very little if it continues to ignore the greatest threat to the reef.

“By failing to protect the Reef, the Federal Government is also gambling with the 64,000 jobs that are dependent on the Reef, and the $6 billion that it generates every year for the Queensland economy.”

“The Government knows what the solutions to this are all too well: no new coal mines, including Adani’s monstrous Carmichael mine, a rapid transition to renewable energy, a phase out of all coal-fired power stations by 2030 and an immediate end to all fossil fuel subsidies.”

“But instead of acting on these recommendations, the government continues to pander to the demands of the fossil fuel industry instead of delivering a cleaner, safer future for Australia.

“The Government is on notice ahead of the next election. Australians want the Government to protect the Reef and its amazing wildlife. The time to act is now.”

Greenie Media release. Interviews available from Imogen Zethoven, a Greenie from way back. 0431 565 495

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


Coral Bleaching Just As Bad Or Worse 400 Years Ago

The Greenie lies about coral bleaching, excerpts:

Large-scale coral bleaching has raised concern about the future of the ecosystems and the impact their loss could have on biodiversity.

The fact that we are seeing an increase in bleaching even in these tough corals highlights just how serious the threat of coral bleaching is. –Dr Sebastian Hennige, researcher

The teams found the frequency of bleaching has increased since the 1800s and, despite corals’ ability to recover, there are fears they could now be approaching a "critical threshold".

Dr Nick Kamenos from Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences said: "It’s clear in the core data we examined that bleaching has been occurring on the Great Barrier Reef for at least 400 years, but the frequency of bleaching events has increased markedly since the early 1800s and those events have affected 10% more corals since the late 1700s.

The facts:

The claim that the frequency of bleaching events has increased markedly since the early 1800s is an utterly dishonest one. Here is the actual graph from the paper itself:



The relevant chart is "B", which shows the number of years in each decade when at least 20% of corals were affected.

As you can see, although there has been a rise since 1800, there is little difference between recent decades and the 18thC. Indeed bleaching was far worse in the 1890s and 1750s.

Worse still for the alarmists, chart "C" shows little change in the percentage of corals bleached per decade.

There is the usual nonsense about how things will get much worse. But the actual facts show a completely different picture.

SOURCE  

Friday, August 17, 2018


Coral reef corruption

There are some people who should never do interviews. At the head of that list is the managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Anna Marsden.

One of the interviews she did this week gave train wrecks a bad name. This is a woman who has never heard of the phrase "stop digging". This week she was brandishing her shovel and seemed utterly determined to bury the $444 million grant the foundation received from the Turnbull government.

The opposition just couldn’t believe its luck as she poured fuel on a fire already burning out of the government’s control.

In her defence, all I can say is that the decision to grant the foundation this massive sum, which Marsden famously declared was like "winning Lotto", stinks to high heaven and no one is capable of justifying it.

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has waffled and struggled to explain how it came about. He is a competent minister whom I fear is covering for the real culprit in all of this — the Prime Minister himself.

Then again, how could you ever justify showering this foundation with such largesse when it didn’t even request it? This was money that simply fell out of the sky and into its grateful lap. Depending upon whom you believe, the foundation employed between eight and 12 people at the time of the grant announcement. Given there could be up to 1000 requests for grants, just how would it be expected to manage the task?

The answer would have to be to hire more people, which begs the question — how much of each dollar given reaches the reef and how much is spent on administration? You would be entitled to believe that this sort of question could be readily answered by the government simply checking its due diligence. Surely you would think that there would have been considerable resources applied to checking on the small charity to which you were considering granting a huge sum like $444m.

If you thought that, again you would be disappointed. Again, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, Marsden tells us that neither she nor anyone else at the foundation was contacted during any due-diligence investigation.

You just can’t give taxpayers’ funds away in such a cavalier fashion. If the commonwealth auditor-general is reviewing this farce, then he needs to look no further than the pathetic attempt at the due diligence.

Marsden’s attempts to put us at ease with the process are falling on many a deaf ear. Her claim that the "chairman’s panel and our corporate partners have no role in selecting projects" rings hollow.

It must be a very odd set-up if the board is unable to oversee the process of granting money. It must have the power to overrule the process if it finds any aspect of it unsatisfactory. It is not hard to understand how nervous the foundation is about the power of its board. Names such as BHP and Rio Tinto will frighten any friends of the reef given the many attempts over the years to mine this wonder of the world.

To think Malcolm Turnbull wants to hold a parliamentary inquiry into alleged bullying in a backbencher’s office but sees no need for anything like that when he presides over one of the biggest scandals in our history of maladministration says so much about our Prime Minister.

SOURCE 

Friday, July 6, 2018


Bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef could happen every two years, report finds

Another Greenie prophecy that is bound to look absurd in the near future!  Greenies never tire of making scary prophecies even though they have yet to get one right.

We read: "The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation".  That should tell you that they will never find that all is well.  People who believe in climate change never do.  Couple that with dissenting scientists like Peter Ridd getting fired and you can be sure that the "report" below is just propaganda based on cherry-picking and exaggeration.

You can tell it is propaganda by their maniacal insistence that only global temperature control will be of any benefit to the reef. They are in the grip of a reality-denying cult



THE Great Barrier Reef could be hit with catastrophic bleaching every two years unless more is done to limit climate change.

A new report from the Climate Council reveals coral bleaching is now happening on average every six years, compared to once every 27 years back in the 1980s.

Based on current rising greenhouse gas levels, bleaching will happen every two years by 2034.

In the report released today Lethal Consequences: Climate Change Impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, the Climate Council says the current rate of bleaching is not sustainable because it will continuously set back recovery of the reef.

At the same time, the reef will also need to deal with other threats caused by climate change — such as ocean acidification and tropical cyclones.

The report found average coral cover in the northern section of the reef is at its lowest point on record, and coral cover in the central section of the reef declined from 22 per cent in

2016 to 14 per cent in 2018, largely due to the 2017 bleaching event.

It said the damage to the reef may be irreversible and it has already resulted in a drop in the diversity of fish species and in the number of juvenile fish settling on the reef.

"Intensifying marine heatwaves around the world are now occurring more often, lasting longer and are more intense than ever before," Climate Councillor and ecologist Professor Lesley Hughes said.

Professor Hughes said the bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 resulted in mass coral mortality, with the 2016 bleaching event at least 175 times more likely to occur due to intensifying climate change.

"Unless drastic action is taken, extreme coral bleaching will be the new normal by the 2030s. We will see extreme ocean temperatures, similar to those that led to these bleaching events possibly occurring every two years, which will effectively sign the death certificate for the world’s largest natural living wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef," she said.

The report makes clear that doing things like improving water quality are not the solution.

It says that unless "deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are made as a matter of urgency — the reef stands little chance no matter what measures are taken to enhance its resilience".

In particular, global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

"A 2C rise in average global temperature will almost certainly mean the collapse of warm water tropical reefs around the world," the report states.

"The decisions and actions that we take today to reduce greenhouse pollution will have a critical effect on the long-term survival of the iconic Great Barrier Reef."

Climate Council acting chief executive officer Dr Martin Rice said the future of coral reefs around the world depended on nations including Australia doing their part to tackle climate change.

SOURCE 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018



No room for differing views

“What happened to me has a massive chilling effect on debate,” says physics professor Peter Ridd, who was sacked by James Cook University last week after saying other scientists, including former colleagues, have exaggerated the dangers to the Great Barrier Reef.

“Any scientist who might agree with me on the reef will just keep their mouth shut, it’s just too risky.”

The well-published professor in coastal oceanography, reef systems and peer review, and a former head of JCU’s school of physics, allegedly has “engaged in serious misconduct, including denigrating the university and its employees, and not acting in the best interests of the university”, according to vice-chancellor Sandra Harding in the letter terminating his employment.

The sacking stems from comments the 29-year JCU veteran made on Sky News that “science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated” and those who claim problems with the reef are too “emotionally attached to their subject” — views already aired in his chapter in the book Climate Change: The Facts 2017, produced by the Institute of Public Affairs. Ridd’s academic freedom supposedly has fallen foul of the institution’s code of conduct. A disturbing pattern is emerging on Australia campuses. The JCU experience is typical of the breakdown of free intellectual inquiry at our universities; of debate replaced by dogma.

“I’m a lefty myself, but a monoculture is always a risk, whether you’re part of it or against it,” says Bill von Hippel, acting head of psychology at the University of Queensland. “I’m very worried that the left-leaning ideology of most members of our field might skew the nature of the questions we ask and the way we interpret our findings.”

Ridd has taken his fight to the Federal Circuit Court on the grounds that termination of his employment is a breach of his contractual right to academic freedom. “We need universities to actually encourage different viewpoints so that we get argument,” he says.

Inquirer has spoken to more than a dozen Australian academics across disciplines, universities, and the political spectrum who are concerned about the suffocating monoculture that is gripping our universities, jeopardising research and teaching.

SOURCE 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018







Australian University Professor Sacked for Telling-the-Truth about coral

Jennifer Marohasy

BACK in 2016, when I asked Peter Ridd if he would write a chapter for the book I was editing I could not possibly have envisaged it could contribute to the end of his thirty-year career as a university professor.

Considering that Peter enrolled at James Cook University as an undergraduate back in 1978, he has been associated with that one university for forty years.

Since Peter was fired on 2 May 2018, the university has attempted to remove all trace of this association: scrubbing him completely from their website.

But facts don’t cease to exist because they are removed from a website. The university has never challenged the veracity of Peter’s legitimate claims about the quality of much of the reef science: science on which billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded research is being squandered. These issues are not going away.

Just yesterday (Friday 18 May), Peter lodged papers in the Federal Court. He is going to fight for his job back!

If you care about the truth, science and academic freedom, please donate to help bring this important case to court.

It doesn’t matter how little or how much you donate. Just make sure you are a part of this important effort by donating to Peter’s GoFundMe campaign.

Peter deliberately choose to frame the book chapter about the replication crisis that is sweeping through science.

In this chapter – The Extraordinary Resilience of Great Barrier Reef Coral and Problems with Policy Science – Peter details the major problems with quality assurance when it comes to claims of the imminent demise of the reef.

Policy science concerning the Great Barrier Reef is almost never checked. Over the next few years, Australian governments will spend more than a billion dollars on the Great Barrier Reef; the costs to industry could far exceed this. Yet the keystone research papers have not been subject to proper scrutiny. Instead, there is a total reliance on the demonstrably inadequate peer-review process.

Ex-professor Peter Ridd has also published extensively in the scientific literature on the Great Barrier Reef, including issues with the methodology used to measure calcification rates. In the book he explains:

Like trees, which produce rings as they grow, corals set down a clearly identifiable layer of calcium carbonate skeleton each year, as they grow. The thicknesses and density of the layers can be used to infer calcification rates and are, effectively, a measure of the growth rate. Dr Glenn De’ath and colleagues from the Australian Institute of Marine Science used cores from more than 300 corals, some of which were hundreds of years old, to measure the changes in calcification during the last few hundred years. They claimed there was a precipitous decline in calcification since 1990

The LHS chart suggests a problem with coral growth rates – but the real problem is with the methodology. When corals of equivalent age are sampled, there has been no decline in growth rates at the Great Barrier Reef

However, I have two issues with their analysis. I published my concerns, and an alternative analysis, in the journal Marine Geology (Ridd et al. 2013). First, there were instrumental errors with the measurements of the coral layers. This was especially the case for the last layer at the surface of the coral, which was often measured as being much smaller than the reality. This forced an apparent drop in the average calcification for the corals that were collected in the early 2000s – falsely implying a recent calcification drop. Second, an ‘age effect’ was not acknowledged. When these two errors are accounted for, the drop in calcification rates disappear, as shown in Figure 1.2.

The problem with the ‘age effect’, mentioned above, arose because in the study De’ath and colleagues included data from corals sampled during two distinct periods and with a different focus; I will refer to these as two campaigns. The first campaign occurred mostly in the 1980s and focused on very large coral specimens, sometimes many metres across. The second campaign occurred in the early 2000s due to the increased interest in the effects of CO2. However, presumably due to cost cutting measures, instead of focusing on the original huge coral colonies, the second campaign measured smaller colonies, many just a few tens of centimetres in diameter.

In summary, the first campaign focused on large old corals, while, in contrast, the second campaign focused on small young corals. The two datasets were then spliced together, and wholly unjustifiable assumptions were implicitly made, but not stated – in particular that there is no age effect on coral growth…

Dr Juan D’Olivo Cordero from the University of Western Australia collected an entirely different dataset of coral cores from the Great Barrier Reef to determine calcification rates. This study determined that there has been a 10% increase in calcification rates since the 1940s for offshore and mid-shelf reefs, which is the location of about 99% of all the coral on the Great Barrier Reef. However, these researchers also measured a 5% decline in calcification rates of inshore corals – the approximately 1% of corals that live very close to the coast. Overall, there was an increase for most of the Great Barrier Reef, and a decrease for a small fraction of the Great Barrier Reef.

While it would seem reasonable to conclude that the results of the study by D’Olivo et al. would be reported as good news for the Great Barrier Reef, their article in the journal Coral Reefs concluded:

Our new findings nevertheless continue to raise concerns, with the inner-shelf reefs continuing to show long-term declines in calcification consistent with increased disturbance from land-based effects. In contrast, the more ‘pristine’ mid- and outer-shelf reefs appear to be undergoing a transition from increasing to decreasing rates of calcification, possibly reflecting the effects of CO2-driven climate change.

Imaginatively, this shift from ‘increasing’ to ‘decreasing’ seems to be based on an insignificant fall in the calcification rate in some of the mid-shelf reefs in the last two years of the 65-year dataset.

Why did the authors concentrate on this when their data shows that the reef is growing about 10% faster than it did in the 1940s?

James Cook university could have used the chapter as an opportunity to start a much-needed discussion about policy, funding and the critical importance of the scientific method. Instead, Peter was first censored by the University – and now he has been fired.

When I first blogged on this back in February, Peter needed to raise A$95,000 to fight the censure.

This was achieved through an extraordinary effort, backed by Anthony Watts, Joanne Nova, John Roskam and so many others.

To be clear, the university is not questioning the veracity of what ex-professor Ridd has written, but rather his right to say this publicly. In particular, the university is claiming that he has not been collegial and continues to speak-out even after he was told to desist.

New allegations have been built on the original misconduct charges that I detailed back in February. The core issue continues to be Peter’s right to keep talking – including so that he can defend himself.

In particular, the university objects to the original GoFundMe campaign (that Peter has just reopened) because it breaches claimed confidentiality provisions in Peter’s employment agreement. The university claims that Peter Ridd was not allowed to talk about their action against him. Peter disputes this.

Of course, if Peter had gone along with all of this, he would have been unable to raise funds to get legal advice – to defend himself! All of the documentation is now being made public – all of this information, and more can be found at Peter’s new website.

Together, let’s fight this! Go fund ex-professor Ridd at:

https://au.gofundme.com/peter-ridd-legal-action-fund.

The Institute of Public Affairs published Climate Change, The Facts 2017, and continues to support Peter’s right to speak the truth. For media and comment contact Evan Mulholland on 0405 140 780, or at emulholland@ipa.org.au.

Buy the book if you haven’t already: this is another way of showing your support.

Peter Ridd and Jennifer Marohasy speaking at the Sydney Institute last year.

The most important thing is to not be silenced, shout about this! I received an email last week: “Bought Climate Change, The Facts 2017, as requested, to support Peter Ridd. I’m not making any friends at dinner parties at the moment. Stuff ’em.”

SOURCE 



Friday, April 20, 2018


Great Barrier grief: Coral 'cooked to death' in scorching summer heatwave

This is just an academic republication of some claims made in 2016, which were shown at the time to be greatly exaggerated.  And note below that global sea surface temperatures actually FELL during late 2016. 



So if there was a big warming event in North Queensland waters at the time it was a LOCAL event, not a global one.  So any coral damage was not caused by global warming. 

The BOM does record high temperatures in the reef area in 2016 but admits that there were several factors contributing to that.  I quote:

"The 2015–16 El Niño suppressed and delayed the monsoon, leading to reduced cloud cover and weakened winds this summer. Additionally, a relatively low number of summer storms occurred over the Reef. These factors led to increased surface heating and reduced mixing, resulting in substantially warmer ocean temperatures around northern Australia from December to March 2016."

And note that the BOM places the warming in early 2016, not late 2016.  Pesky!

Something else that happened in 2016 was a regional sea-level fall --which really is detrimental to coral and could alone explain any damage.

And note the announcement from late last year that bleached corals are already recovering nicely.  So no fear for them is warranted.

It's just propaganda below -- propaganda in a scholarly disguise.  I actually wonder whether they did all the surveys they claim to have done? A little bit of interpolation here and there, perhaps?  JCU has a record of dubious integrity.  Ask Peter Ridd about that



Millions of corals on the Great Barrier Reef were 'cooked' during a scorching summer in the northern region, according to scientists.

The underwater heatwave eliminated a huge number of different species of coral during a process which expelled algae after the polyps were stressed.

'When corals bleach from a heatwave, they can either survive and regain their colour slowly as the temperature drops, or they can die.

'Averaged across the whole Great Barrier Reef, we lost 30 per cent of the corals in the nine-month period between March and November 2016,' said Professor Terry Hughes from James Cook University said.

Prof Hughes who acts as the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at JCU said his team was very surprised to see a quarter of the corals die in just two to three weeks during the March heatwave.

Scientists researched the entire reef by analysing water surveys at various locations along its 2,300-kilometre distance, and combined insight with aerial data and satellite monitoring. 

Results showed 29 per cent of the 3,863 reefs which make up the world's largest reef system lost 'two-thirds or more of their corals', which dramatically impacts the ability of the reefs to maintain full ecological abilities.

'The Great Barrier Reef is certainly threatened by climate change, but it is not doomed if we deal very quickly with greenhouse gas emissions.

'Our study shows that coral reefs are already shifting radically in response to unprecedented heatwaves,' said Prof Hughes.

The team warn that if changes are not made to consider climate change it will have a huge effect on tropical reef ecosystems and, therefore, a detrimental impact on the benefits those environments provide to populations of poor nations.

SOURCE