Human-lead climate change and rising sea temperatures could mean the Great Barrier Reef may not be able to tolerate coral bleaching events in the future.
James Cook University and the University of Queensland have been involved in a study, published in Science, investigating how the Great Barrier Reef will be affected by climate change in the future.
Lead author Dr. Tracy Ainsworth describes coral bleaching events as ‘a marathon for coral.” Reefs that are exposed to gradually increasing water temperatures over time are effectively ‘training’ for high stress bleaching events. This early exposure means that when bleaching occurs, these reefs are able to recover faster, just like a well-trained marathon runner.
However, the team’s recent findings suggest that an overall increase in sea temperatures of just 0.5 °C could mean that these protective pre-bleaching conditions could disappear. This could devastate large sections of the reef.
The study highlights the importance of taking action against climate change on a global level.
Read more here: James Cook University.