The Great Barrier Reef is not dead – yet – but its condition is not that good either. Fortunately, awareness of the ecological community’s state led to more studies that help understand what makes the coral reefs healthy and what measures can be done to protect it.
Recently, an article in an obituary format made rounds and announced the Great Barrier Reef is dead. As the largest coral community, the news surprised many people.
Scientists and environmentalists were angered not only because the news is not true, but also because the misleading article undermines the efforts of the people who are working to save and protect the coral gardens.
But is one of the seven wonders of the natural world not far from being dead?
The ecological community is in a dire situation, but it is not too late to save the Australian ecosystem. Additionally, a recent study has shed light on how the coral reefs can be resilient through the help of healthy microbes. Factors that can disrupt the microbiological community are also revealed.
A 3-year study conducted in Florida Keys showed that microbes housing in corals help in its resiliency and ability to recover. When a coral is healthy, it can easily recover from small injuries. But when the coral is in a disrupted microbial ecology, it is more vulnerable to death.
Even though the study was conducted in the Caribbean ecosystem, it still helped shed light on the harm that the Great Barrier Reef suffers.
Factors that disturb the normal microbial community include overfishing, pollution and coral bleaching and warm ocean temperatures caused by climate change.
This year’s mass bleaching that happened in the Great Barrier Reef declined the coral cover. However, large natural ecosystems have the ability to recover specially with the help of people’s efforts. Rising water temperatures that cause coral bleaching can be remedied by reducing ocean pollution and making sure there is abundance in fishes that remove algal growth in reefs.
The government of Australia has also kicked its gears in preserving the World Heritage Site which is home to thousands of corals, fishes, birds and different species.
Photo source: Flickr