A Third of Australia's Great Barrier Reef is Probably Dead
Coral reef systems can be found all over the world. None, however, can really compare to the Great Barrier Reef along Australia’s coastlines. These coral reefs are considered to be the longest in the world. They run the length of over 1,429 miles. Today, this natural wonder is under buckling under conditions caused by excessive global warming, and soon enough, there will be no signs of it. let us take a closer look at the issue and its consequences.
Corals are ancient sea creatures, probably the distant, ancient relatives of jellyfish and sea anemones. They secrete a calcium-rich exoskeleton called coral that merges together into latticework structures under the sea called coral reefs. The coral reef is used as a home for the corals, which group together in clusters called polyps and for the energy transfer of food. (Usually algae.) The coral reefs of Earth are anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 years old. Perhaps even older. Some scientific thought believes that the majority of the coral reefs presently on Earth might have developed at the tail end of Earth’s last Ice Age as the planet slowly thawed.
Coral reefs are extremely important to the ecology and natural balance of Earth's global ocean systems. Over 25 percent of all known fish and marine life on planet Earth create makeshift homes, nurseries and egg-drop spawning sites within coral reef real estate.
Recently, and only for the third time within two decades, large swaths of coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef system have become subject to coral bleaching. When ocean waters warm up appreciably, they produce disastrous effects in coral reefs. In warmer than usual waters, corals eject life-giving algae from coral reefs, a necessary nutrient that the polyps feed on. The polyps weaken and die, the coral turns white and becomes uninhabitable for sea life of any kind, especially for fish looking for a home or a place to spawn.
Well over 30 percent of the Great Barrier Reef could be dead or on the way to dying. More time, observation and analysis will produce more clear, conclusive results. The condition is reversible if affected ocean waters warm back up in time. Yet, once coral reef dies, it is dead for good. Not only is the coral bleaching epidemic disastrous for marine life, it sure doesn’t help tourism either. The Great Barrier Reef is a renowned cultural landmark for the country of Australia, especially for the Native Aboriginal communities of the country. The Great Barrier Reef is visible from space.
It goes without saying that the continued destruction of the reef will adversely affect international tourism for the country of Australia. If there was ever a time to enjoy the beauty and majesty of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, now would be the perfect time to think about a visit. If we continue to ignore the ramifications of global warming and lose the coral reefs of Earth, then the word, “fish,” just might become a nearly extinct, and special occasion meal in the near future.