Great Barrier Reef Bleached For Second Year Running.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is experiencing an unprecedented second straight year of mass coral bleaching, scientists said, warning that many species would struggle to fully recover. The 2,300-kilometre reef suffered its most severe bleaching on record last year, due to warming sea temperatures during March and April. Bleaching is once again occurring, the government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said, after an aerial survey off Australia’s eastern coast on Thursday, 9 March. The agency said more bleaching was being observed in the central part of the reef, which last year escaped widespread severe bleaching. The 2016 bleaching was more severe in the northern areas of the bio-diverse site. The back-to-back occurrence of widespread bleaching also meant there was insufficient time for corals to fully recover. Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour. Corals can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to recolonise them.
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