Great Barrier Reef ‘Gives Birth’ In Huge Spawning Event
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is said to have ‘given birth’ as the World Heritage site appears to be recovering from damaging coral bleaching episodes.
On the night of Tuesday, November 23, scientists recorded the world-famous corals birthing billions of offspring, casting sperm and eggs into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Cairns, Queensland.
This yearly spawning event went on for two or three days, and has renewed hopes for the reef’s ongoing survival following alarming bleaching incidents.
As reported by CBC News,Reef Teach marine scientist Gareth Phillips, who is studying the spawning event as part of a wider project monitoring the health of the reef, said:
It is gratifying to see the reef give birth. It’s a strong demonstration that its ecological functions are intact and working after being in a recovery phase for more than 18 months.
The reef has gone through its own troubles like we all have, but it can still respond – and that gives us hope. I think we must all focus on the victories as we emerge from the pandemic.
The reef network, which spans 348,000 square kilometres (134,000 square miles), was impacted significantly from coral bleaching trigged by unusually warm water temperatures in the years 2016, 2017 and 2020, causing damage to two-thirds of the coral.
A study published last year found the Great Barrier Reef had lost 50% of its coral populations in just three decades, with climate change being a key driver of reef disturbance.
After looking at coral communities and colony sizes within the reef between the years 1995 and 2017, researchers from Queensland’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoralCoE) discovered that almost all small, medium and large corals had been depleted during this period.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]