Great Barrier Reef recovering after severe bleaching event

Parts of the Great Barrier Reef are making a recovery after being severely bleached over the past two years.

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Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science surveyed 14 coral reefs between Cairns and Townsville last month to see how they were affected by the serious bleaching events of the past two years.

The experts were astonished to find that the corals were actually recovering and had even already started to reproduce.

“We’re finding corals that are showing early signs of reproductive development, really visible eggs that we can see under the naked eye,” Dr. Neil Cantin said to ABC. “It means they have enough energy, they’ve recovered the zooxanthellae and the symbiosis and they even have the energy to invest in reproduction and egg development.”

The bleaching events of 2016 and 2017 had affected nearly two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef and had killed up to 50 percent of coral in those parts. These proofs of recovery are a very positive sign for the future of the reef.

“What it means is the corals along the entire Great Barrier Reef, are survivors that are going to reproduce earlier than expected which could help drive quicker recovery if we don’t see another heat stress this summer,” he said.

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