Survey confirms worst-ever coral bleaching at Great Barrier Reef

Last Modified: Fri May 06 2016 23:10:02 GMT+0530 (India Standard Time)
  • 93%
    of reefs on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have been hit by coral bleaching, according to a comprehensive survey revealing the full extent of the devastation caused by abnormally warm ocean temperatures sweeping the globe.
  • 911
    individual reefs have been covered as part of an aerial survey of the GBR that began last month, and has now covered along the 2,300 km structure from helicopters and planes.
  • 68
    An abysmally low number out of the 911 reefs surveyed escaped bleaching entirely, according to Prof Terry Hughes, from James Cook University and head of the National Coral Bleaching taskforce.
  • 50%
    or more of the surveyed reefs have been severely bleached. If coral remains bleached for an extended period, it is likely to die.
  • 81%
    of reefs in the northern section (north of Port Douglas) have experienced severe bleaching.
  • 33%
    of reefs in the central section between Port Douglas and Mackay are severely bleached and 57% have seen moderate or minor bleaching.
  • 1%
    of reefs in the southern section (South of Mackay) are severely bleached, but even there, only 25% of the reefs have escaped bleaching entirely. The southern third was fortunately cooled down late in summer by a period of cloudy weather caused by ex-cyclone Winston, after it passed over Fiji and came down as a rain depression.
  • 50%
    mortality rate in the northern region which is already high and Hughes expected that at some reefs in the same region, it will exceed 90%.
  • 100
    number of divers who are examining the coral up-close and have collected data from about 150 reefs in order to confirm the aerial work.