"Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling 17" by Dmitry Brant / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Great Barrier Reef Has Lost Half Its Corals

Oct 15, 2020

By Maria Cramer

The Great Barrier Reef, one of the earth’s most precious habitats, lost half of its coral populations in the last quarter-century, a decline that researchers in Australia said would continue unless drastic action is taken to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Researchers studied coral colonies along the length of the reef between 1995 and 2017 and found that almost every coral species had declined.

Colony sizes were smaller; there were fewer “big mamas,” or older large corals that produce baby corals; and there were fewer of those babies, which are vital to the reef’s future ability to breed.

“Our results show the ability of the Great Barrier Reef to recover — its resilience — is compromised compared to the past, because there are fewer babies, and fewer large breeding adults,” Dr. Andy Dietzel, the lead author of the study, said in a statement.

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