Great Barrier Reef
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This one won't be as bad as 2016, but it could be more comparable to 1998 or 2002. I'm confident that we'll still have coral reefs if we can keep below 2. I don't think we'll keep below 1½. I think we've got a narrowing window of opportunity, to put it optimistically – or to put it pessimistically, we're running out of time.
Climate change is not a future threat. On the Great Barrier Reef, it's been happening for 18 years.
We didn't expect to see this level of destruction to the Great Barrier Reef for another 30 years. In the north, I saw hundreds of reefs – literally two-thirds of the reefs were dying and are now dead.
It broke my heart to see so many corals dying on northern reefs on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016. With rising temperatures due to global warming, it's only a matter of time before we see more of these events. A fourth event after only one year would be a major blow to the reef. The severity of the 2016 bleaching was off the chart. In its weakened state, the reef cannot afford the Adani mine.
To lose coral reefs is to fundamentally undermine the health of a very large proportion of the human race. It's probably time that we start thinking outside the box. It's sort of a no-win game if we do nothing.
"The models indicate that we will see the return of bleaching in the South Pacific soon, along with a possibility of bleaching in both the eastern and western parts of the Indian Ocean,"
We've lost 50 percent of the reefs , but that means we still have 50 percent left. We definitely don't want to get to the point where we don't intervene until we have 2 percent left.
"As scientists, we were all on brand new territory," "as were the corals in terms of the thermal stress they were subjected to."
As scientists, we were all on brand new territory, as were the corals in terms of the thermal stress they were subjected to.
This is the first time we have ever seen bleaching in back-to-back summers. Many coral species appear to be more susceptible to bleaching after more than 12 months of sustained above-average ocean temperatures. We are now entering uncharted territory.
Vlasoff Cay used to have the best coral diversity in the area. Now with the water sitting at 32 degrees all the way to the bottom, the corals are dying. Many are already dead and covered in algae.
Some of the most disastrous effects of climate change are out of sight – on the ocean floor. In fact, unless we take urgent action, 90 percent of coral reefs are expected to disappear by 2050.
The latest bleaching has been the worst die-off ever recorded.
There's been a lot of work on identifying the train crash (for corals) but very little about 'let's not let this happen.
This is another example of why coal and the Great Barrier Reef don't mix.
Most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in the northern, most-pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef. This region escaped with minor damage in two earlier bleaching events in 1998 and 2002, but this time around it has been badly affected.
The good news is the southern two-thirds of the Reef has escaped with minor damage. On average, 6 percent of bleached corals died in the central region in 2016, and only 1 percent in the south. The corals have now regained their vibrant color, and these reefs are in good condition.
The coral is essentially cooked.
Climate change is killing the Great Barrier Reef. The continued mining and burning of coal, oil and gas is irreparably damaging the climate. If we want our kids to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef for generations to come, we must act now to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
This region escaped with minor damage in two earlier bleaching events in 1998 and 2002, but this time around it has been badly affected.
Warmer oceans mean that fish don't grow to their full length. Coral bleaching caused by climate change means fish nurseries and their food sources are also under threat.
It's happening too fast for organisms and ecosystems to develop strategies to cope. There's a high risk of losing up to 90 percent of coral reefs in a 1.5-degree Celsius warmer world by the end of the century. This is a system that has already gone beyond its tolerance limits.
We left with a sense of dread and came back with a renewed purpose because there are some corals that literally came back from the brink. It's the best we could have hoped for.
It's like having a patient who is very sick and instead of letting them recover, we keep infecting them with more and more illnesses. There's only so much that any person – or any natural system – can take.
But despite this mass mortality, there are a few small signs of hope. It's clear that coral reefs have great resilience and the coral here is trying to recover.
What is unique about this study is how vast and dense the coral cover is. Although there was a bit of a hint that corals could survive ... down at those depths, these reefs off Maui were far and away much more dramatic both because they were deeper and they had higher coral cover percentage.
If shallow coral reefs are more vulnerable to threats from say runoff or overfishing or whatever, then down deep these reefs could potentially serve as refuges for those species.
Today our seas are warmer and far more acidic, weakening the shells of marine creatures and destroying coral reefs that we all depend on for life. The only way we can avert this disaster is by scaling up innovative actions and solutions to these problems as quickly as possible.
We want the reef to come back. We fish, and the health of fish is completely dependent on habitat. When the habitat is decimated, the fish goes away.
As an island state, Hawaii is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including increased storms, coral bleaching as well as local impacts that place our reefs at risk. CI is grateful to the Governor for committing to protect our natural environment so that it can continue to benefit our communities now and into the future.
If the Symbiodinium is removed from the host and does not recolonise quickly, the corals can die.
When you seriously over-exploit marine eco-systems, it can take them decades to recover. And that's in shallow water, you can imagine what happens if you drag a trawl through a deep sea coral bed. That is going to take hundreds of years to recover if it recovers at all.
Less than one percent of humanity has been diving on a coral reef. So most of us on the planet don't know what a coral reef really is, and thereby, if you don't know about something, how are you going to feel compelled to protect it?
CORAL [Coral Reef Airborne Laboratory] is an airborne mission to survey reefs at select locations across the Pacific. The idea is to get a new perspective on coral reefs from above, to study them at a larger scale than we have been able to before, and then relate reef condition to the environment.
What happens if we don't take care of our reefs? It's dire.
People invest in creative solutions when their livelihoods depend on it.
As scientific divers, we're limited by the depth we can work at and the amount of bottom time that we have while we're diving, so much of underwater marine science, especially on coral reefs, is a painstakingly slow process. This Coral Reef Airborne Laboratory can't replace scientists in the water, but it can provide a very high-level, complementary type of data.
This El Nino has caused some of the worst coral bleaching and death of any event we've ever seen. We've had enough of this.
I'm a huge proponent of open source data. To me, the application of this technology to coral reefs holds great promise, but to fulfill that promise the data has to be made openly available to the scientific community.
CORAL (Coral Reef Airborne Laboratory) is an airborne mission to survey reefs at select locations across the Pacific. The idea is to get a new perspective on coral reefs from above, to study them at a larger scale than we have been able to before, and then relate reef condition to the environment.
Is it surprising? Not anymore. Is it significant? Absolutely. We're talking about losing 35 per cent of the population of coral in some of these reefs – that's huge.
It's about the worst we've ever seen on the Great Barrier Reef. That is a very dramatic loss.
Australia argued that the world heritage values were in tact because of the northern region and now of course it has taken a huge hit.
The new video and stills are very concerning and show large sections of coral drained of all colour and fighting for survival.
As well as relaxing on the beach, there are many activities for visitors including kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling, to really get up close to the sea life and the amazing coral reefs.
We are still the only lab in the world able to cultivate so many species of coral in controlled conditions and to be able to study them and experiment with them here in the lab.
This is a coral snapper, what we call Lapu Lapu. What you want to do is fill the cavity with some aromatics. Ginger, lemongrass, we put some tomatoes, some onions, we mix that all together and what we want to do is to stuff this fish with the aromatics that we have. We can wrap it now in a banana leaf which will give it a very herbal aroma. So this fish is ready for grilling.
The crabs are quite interesting, they're some of the more voracious critters on the reef, they roam around eating anything they can find. There's one species of crab-like critter called a squat lobster. They sit up in the top of the coral with their arms outraised and they grab things as they swim by, we've seen them grab midwater fish like hatchet fish, they grab squid, they eat tunicates out of the water column.
We've just come in from a 12 day cruise, we've covered something like two or three thousand miles of ocean, and sampled coral reefs all the way from the southern Gulf of Mexico into the central Gulf using a submersible and all kinds of other gear.
Within 50 years and certainly within a hundred years if we don't change what we're doing. With climate change and acidification we'll have no coral reefs left at all.
On the very first dive that we did we landed on absolutely spectacular coral gardens. I've seen them before but you can't help but be blown away when you're down over a kilometre and you see these metre scale corals and this massive diversity of life.
The colours are inspired by the depths of the sea. That's why there is this blue, this green, this coral in the collection. I worked with the idea of a young girl in the 1970s. I combined long dresses with flat shoes.
This sort of lack of monitoring is outrageous in the Great Barrier Reef. This is why we need marine pilots there shepherding these ships through the appropriate course on these reefs.
The coral reefs play a very important role, because the sea-swell breaks on the barrier instead of the shore, so if the coral reef were to disappear it's the island coastline that would be affected.
To give you an idea, after doing these procedures there are roughly 500,000 or 600,000 larvae, so that's already huge, and the goal is to end up with at least 20 or 25 per cent of those that develop.