Great Coral Reef may still recover

Due to the currently misleading media coverage around the great coral reef, I decided to look into the subject a little bit. The coral reef is not dead- it is instead facing the worse coral bleaching that has been historically observed. However, it is also observed that over 80% of coral bleaching is reversible. So, how can we help the coral reef recover?

In order to help the reef recover we must first isolate the cause(s) of the coral bleaching and seek for a solution. Unfortunately, in this case the cause of the massive coral bleaching is climate change; an issue we have been facing for a while and seem unable to solve. Corals share a mutualistic relationship the zoo/phytoplankton to give off the vibrant colours of a health reef. However, the algae are unable to function regularly in the increased environmental temperature. Though we are currently unable to counteract the effects of climate change and global warming however, there are other ways we may achieve the goal of lowering temperatures. Coral bleaching is a survival strategy by the coral to survive heat waves. While the dead algae is removed and replaced with new, healthy algae within the first six months, the recovery process may take years until the reef is colourful and vibrant again.

Climate change is not the only issue at hand however. Even with climate change removed, overfishing, coastal occupation and ocean acidity levels would still cause the death of the reefs over time. One of the more immediate actions we can do in order to help with the coral bleaching is reducing our pollution. Due to the recent media coverage around the reef, many countries and governments are taking prevention actions, as these don’t require many legal procedures and immediately help with the cause.

-Albert Lin

References:

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2016/05/here_s_how_the_great_barrier_reef_could_still_recover.html

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