Great Barrier Reef Is Dead! (Or Is It?)
The Great Barrier Reef has recently been reported as "dead" by Outside Magazine on October 13, 2016.
This underwater paradise measures 300,000 square kilometers, containing more than 3,000 reefs, 600 islands and 300 coral cays. If you haven’t seen it in real life, it is mentioned and portrayed in the 2003 Pixar's animated film, Finding Nemo, as the home of clownfishes Nemo and Marlin. The reef has been considered the largest coral reef ecosystem and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It has been reported that the Great Barrier Reef has been suffering from coral bleaching, the result of severely hot underwater temperatures. According to the Conservancy Director of Coral Reef Conservation Stephanie Wear, "Corals have a limited temperature range within which they can live. When it gets too hot, they get stressed out."
Aside from being stressed out, corals need algae in its tissues because it serves as the food and the source of its beautiful and vibrant colors. Corals and algae share a symbiotic relationship and if the corals get stressed out from high temperature or drastic water pollution, algae leave the tissues thus resulting to the coral's death. This makes the coral turn a bony white, which is why it’s called “bleaching”.
So does this mean the Great Barrier Reef is truly gone? According to a comprehensive reef survey, more than 90% of the Great Barrier Reef suffers from bleaching. Though it may seem like the reef is completely dead, scientists have stated that the world's largest coral reef ecosystem is not dead, but is definitely in the process of dying. As the ocean warms and becomes more acidic, more research is being made to find a way to save this natural landmark.
But it isn’t only scientists and researchers who can do something about saving the Great Barrier Reef. Each and every one of us can help contribute as well to this large cause. With the serious problem of climate change looming over the earth, we as the keepers and tenants of the earth's natural treasures should work together and strive to preserve it. We can do this by using reusable shopping bags instead of plastic and paper, planting trees, conserving water, keeping drains and sinks free of chemicals and respecting the animal and plant-life in the places we visit.