The Great Barrier Reef has lost half of its coral in just 20 years.

The Great Barrier Reef has lost half of its coral in just 20 years.

Inner coral population Australia’s Great Barrier Reef A new study published on Wednesday found a 50% decline over the past 20 years.

Researchers at the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Queensland, Australia, assessed the size of coral colonies in the world’s largest coral reefs from 1995 to 2017, and found that the population of small, medium and large corals declined rapidly. I found it. .

Research co-author Professor Terry Hughes commented on the findings published in the Royal Journal: “The decline occurred in both shallow and deep waters and in almost all species, but especially in branched and table-shaped corals.

This particular coral is particularly important for providing habitat for marine life such as fish that inhabit coral reefs, and the loss means a decline in coral reef biodiversity, researchers say. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a network of governments and civil society groups, coral reefs are home to more than 25% of all marine fish species, despite covering less than 0.1% of the seafloor.

“It was the worst in 2016 and 2017, affected by the record temperatures that triggered mass bleaching,” Hughes said.

Coral reefs contain incredible biodiversity, but as the planet continues to warm, the majority of their faces disappear. David Gray/Reuters File

Coral bleaching occurs as a result of reefs experiencing warmer seawater temperatures than usual. Climate change has dramatically increased the frequency of these events impeding the reef’s ability to recover. A 2019 report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that coral reefs could take more than 15 years to recover. It happened again this year.

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“We thought the Great Barrier Reef was being protected by its enormous size,” Hughes said, but our results show that even the largest and relatively well-protected reef systems in the world are increasingly undermined and declining.

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Coral reefs have the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem on the planet and are the most vulnerable to climate crisis. The UN report warned that even if global warming is limited to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, most of all tropical coral reefs on the planet will disappear. Aspiration that seems less and less likely to achieve.

The Earth is already more than 1.8 degrees warmer than its pre-industrial level, and current estimates suggest that the world is warming between 3.6 and 4.4 degrees.

The study authors concluded, “There is no time to lose. We need to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.”

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