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October 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Great Barrier Reef; Dive it Now

from the October, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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The Great Barrier Reef is under constant attack. Crowns-of-thorns starfish. Cyclones. Acidification. But the greatest threat is coral bleaching. Over the past two decades, three major bleaching events have hit the GBR -- one in 1998, one in 2002, and, most recently, the worldwide event that began last year and only ended this past June. These events are characterized by unusually high spikes in water temperature that disrupt the symbiosis between corals and their algal partners, causing corals to lose their color. Bleaching damages the corals, and prolonged bleaching can kill them. Some corals are more resistant than others, but recovery time for coral species that are good colonizers and fast growers can still take 10-15 years. When long-lived corals die from bleaching, however, their replacement can take many decades....

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