Scientists pitch 'super coral' to counter GBR bleaching

13 Jun 2016 | Written by Gaurav ; Edited by Mansi Motwani
Coral Bleaching in Great Barrier Reef

In an attempt to contain the widespread bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, scientists have proposed to introduce 'super coral', that could be more resistant to bleaching.

Heat-resistant coral occurs naturally in the remote Kimberley region of north-west Australia, where the world's longest tropical tides create super-heated tide pools.

Scientists hope that this coral would be more adaptable in warmer waters.

In context: Coral Bleaching in Great Barrier Reef

IntroductionThe Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system, comprises of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for 2,300 kilometres.

It can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest individual structure made by living organisms.

Selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981, it was labelled by CNN as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

How did it happenWhat leads to Coral Bleaching?

Bleaching occurs when the symbiotic relationship between the coral and the zooxanthellae (the algae that gives it colour) disintegrates.

Once the coral is bleached, it begins to starve.

A rise in water temperature stresses the coral and causes coral bleaching. Corals die under persistent warm conditions.

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Threats to the Great Barrier Reef

PerilThreats to the Great Barrier Reef

Climate change and warming waters directly impact coral reefs worldwide.

According to a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park report, climate change, including a rise in the level and temperature of the sea, is the biggest long-term threat to the GBR.

Coastal development, agricultural run-off pollution, illegal fishing and outbreaks of coral-eating 'crown of thorns' starfish are other significant threats.

EffortsMeasures taken by the Australian Government

The Australian government has initiated plans to implement actions in order to reduce the risk of future damage.

Their adaptation strategy includes efforts to build ecosystem resilience, fill gaps in scientific knowledge, and monitor environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change.

Collaborative management strategies are also being developed and tested with local communities as well as businesses.

Drink beer to help

A company called Good Beer and Co donates the money from one of its brews - Great Barrier Beer - towards reef conservation.

13 Jun 2016Scientists pitch 'super coral' to counter GBR bleaching

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17 Mar 2017Great Barrier Reef: To stop coral bleaching, stop warming

Research has suggested that the only way to tackle the menace of Coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef is to halt the warming of the world's oceans.

The study was published in the journal Nature, and was co-authored by Prof Morgan Pratchett, from Queensland's James Cook University.

The Australian government is undertaking a study to limit the bleaching.

10 Apr 2017Great Barrier Reef: Two-thirds damaged in massive coral bleaching

Continued coral bleaching has already damaged two-thirds of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, affecting about 1,500 kilometres of the structure.

Last year's bleaching, which was concentrated in the north, has extended to the middle section; the south is still relatively undamaged.

Four bleaching events have been recorded since 1998 at gradually reducing gaps, but this recent development registered the shortest gap.