Scientist Have Cause For Optimism About The Great Barrier Reef

Documenting the dead coral after the bleaching event at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef, captured by The Ocean Agency / XL Catlin Seaview Survey in May 2016.

While news about the Great Barrier Reef has not been great recently, there now seems to be some cause for optimism.

According to the Australian Broadcast Corporation, scientists conducting a survey on 14 bleached reefs between Townsville and Cairns have observed that bleached coral has started to reproduce.

The scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science noted that the bleached corals have started to enter early stages of their reproductive cycles. The news is a big surprise, after nearly two thirds of the Great Barrier Reef was impacted by bleaching in 2016 and 2017. The bleaching killed up to 50% of the corals in the affected areas.

According to Dr. Neil Cantin:

“[It’s] very surprising as previous studies have shown a two-to-three-year delay in reproductive activity following bleaching events.”

Scientists from the institute will continue to monitor the reefs, to see if these early recovery signs will blossom into a full-blown reef spawning event. The spawning is expected to occur between October and December.

Hopefully this positive story about one of our planet’s wonders is the first of many to come.

The Great Barrier Reef