New Scientist

Great Barrier Reef's ability to recover from bleaching ' severely reduced'

The study measured the number of surviving adult corals in the Great Barrier Reef - the world's largest reef system - following extreme heat stress, as well as how many new corals it was able to replenish in 2018.

Rosemary Steinberg, of the University of New South Wales, said the islanders need to work closely with local corporations and businesses to help make their reefs more resilient. It will take five to 10 years for coral to fully recover, the researchers estimate.

Magical hard coral reef showing signs of minor coral bleaching.

But climate change makes it less likely that the Great Barrier Reef will catch such a break. Dominant branching staghorn corals and table corals, the species that provide most of the habitat on the reef, produced fewer offspring than less-common stony corals. Previous year an expert panel of global climate experts warned that coral structures - including the Great Barrier Reef - would most likely not survive a 2C rise.

Hughes said that the Great Barrier Reef is undergoing rapid change and is in serious trouble but that it's not too late to save it from total destruction. If not allowed to recover free of stressors, the corals can perish. An environmental activist from the Lamjabat Foundation examines coral for bleaching during in a reef survey in the area of Ujong Pancu, Aceh Besar on July 31, 2010.

"There are also corals on the outer reef and at deeper reef sites that have remained healthy, with minimal or no bleaching". The massive bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 devastated almost half of the Great Barrier Reef, which is actually a sprawling collection of almost 3,000 individual reefs.

A handout photo issued by James Cook University on Nov 28, 2018 shows scientists working on a coral reseeding project to regenerate coral on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. Aside from bleaching and cyclones, the Great Barrier Reef-like other reefs around the world-faces a number of other threats.

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