Canterbury’s marine science team has published a paper that explains the changes occurring on the reef over the past two decades and warns of an impending collapse.
The report was compiled from more than 100 interviews and field studies carried out over the last two decades by marine scientists in Canterwood and the Hunter region.
The scientists have analysed over 150 coral reefs to understand what is happening in the Great Barra, as well as how the reef is changing in response to climate change.
“The Great Barrier is in a really vulnerable situation, and we’re seeing a lot of the changes that we’re talking about right now,” said Dr Andrew Brown, head of Canterburys marine science department.
“It’s not as we might have imagined, and it’s a really important study that shows the impacts that are happening right now and the way we’re responding to them.”
In its report, the marine scientists found the reef was in a “very precarious” state, with over 20 per cent of coral dying due to the impact of climate change, and the loss of marine biodiversity.
“We are seeing a decline in coral reef cover, a loss of species, a reduction in the number of reef fishes and invertebrates, and a large amount of the coral is gone,” said co-author Dr Stephen Stacey.
“If you look at the whole area, there are two reefs that have more or less the same amount of coral cover.
One is in the north, and one is in South Australia.”
The research was conducted at the University of New South Wales’ College of Earth, Ocean and Earth Sciences and the Department of Marine Sciences.
It was published on Wednesday in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.
Dr Stacey said the study showed there was a huge amount of potential for a recovery in the reef, but the researchers were not convinced it was happening.
“There’s still a lot to be done,” he said.
“But if we can keep things in check, the reef will recover.”
Dr Stace said the research had been conducted in the early stages, but that he was confident the reef would be able to recover.
“I think we have seen a major increase in the recovery of coral reef species over the years, which is great news,” he added.
“One of the things we’re hoping to get from this research is better understanding of what’s happening in different areas and how that affects the reef. “
“And the more we understand about what’s going on on the reefs, the better we can anticipate what will happen in the future.” “
He said the findings from the Canterville research were the first to show coral reefs in the northern and southern parts of the Great Australia were in “an extremely vulnerable situation”. “
And the more we understand about what’s going on on the reefs, the better we can anticipate what will happen in the future.”
He said the findings from the Canterville research were the first to show coral reefs in the northern and southern parts of the Great Australia were in “an extremely vulnerable situation”.
“We’ve seen a number of corals going extinct, and coral reefs that are not as healthy as they were, and many of those reefs are not thriving anymore,” he explained.
“This is happening at a time when there are massive environmental changes in the region, and this is a really serious problem.”
Dr Brown said while the study was not the first, it was the most comprehensive to date.
“Our research has been in the public domain for a while now, and in fact we have published some other research on the Great Cantervilles coral reefs, which shows that coral reef life is recovering,” he told news.com.au.
“These coral reefs are being destroyed by climate change and we need to think about how to manage this as well.”
Dr Scott Hughes, head lecturer in marine biology at the university, said it was important to keep a keen eye on the changing coral ecosystems around the Great Lakes.
“What we’re finding is that the southern Great Lakes have a lot less corals, so that’s a problem,” he described.
“In terms of northern Great Lakes, there is an increase in reefs and that’s because there is less oxygen in the ocean, and that can make corals less able to produce their shells, which are important for the survival of coralline algae.”
If you have too much water there is not enough oxygen for corals to build up shells, so they die.
“When corals are in poor health, the shells are reduced and then the coral can’t build up again.
So, this is really bad for corallines.”
Dr Hughes said it also made sense that the coral reefs around Canterburg were in poor condition, given the region was experiencing a lot warmer temperatures.
“You see a lot in the south and a lot at sea in the winter, so you’re seeing the effects of the ocean warming in the southern hemisphere,” he commented.
“At Canterworth we’re really concerned about the