The Reef is bounc­ing back

The Weekend Post - - Views - Nick Dal­ton nick.dal­ton@news.com.au

AT last some good news for the Great Bar­rier Reef amongst the doom and gloom about coral bleach­ing.

Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Ma­rine Sci­ence re­searchers have dis­cov­ered new signs of life in some of the worst af­fected parts of the Reef.

Tiny sacs of white eggs have been found in bleached coral reefs be­tween Townsville and Cairns.

They say it raises new hope for the ar­eas of bad bleach­ing.

The re­mark­able and fast re­cov­ery has sur­prised AIMS coral bi­ol­o­gist Dr Neal Cantin.

Re­searchers in­spected 14 reefs be­tween Townsville and Cairns, in­clud­ing Fitzroy Is­land where sur­viv­ing coral were pro­duc­ing eggs.

Pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown a two-to-three-year de­lay in re­pro­duc­tion af­ter se­vere bleach­ing.

The ma­jor­ity of coral colonies on the in­shore reefs had re­gained their colour and the growth of some colonies was sur­pris­ingly good.

But they also dis­cov­ered that some of the more sen­si­tive corals are now even rarer in ar­eas where they were abun­dant in March.

The Reef has been hit by two coral-bleach­ing catas­tro­phes in the past two years.

It’s lead to alarmists declar­ing the Reef is dy­ing due to cli­mate change and man’s ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity.

But re­search by AIMS also shows how re­silient the Reef is. It’s fight­ing back.

It still doesn’t mean we can sit back and be­come com­pla­cent.

We must con­tinue to sup­port all ef­forts to pro­tect the Reef from man­made pol­lu­tion and nat­u­ral en­e­mies.

The Great Bar­rier Reef is the great­est in the world.

The lat­est re­search and ob­ser­va­tions are heart­en­ing.

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