A researcher completing bleaching surveys in the southern Great Barrier Reef after a major bleaching event.
ARC CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR CORAL REEF STUDIES
Few feel the pain of the Great Barrier Reef's decline more acutely than the scientists trying to save it. Ahead of a UN climate summit, two researchers write of their grief, and hope.
A helicopter view of Bait Reef in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
We all know that climate change is hurting the Great Barrier Reef. But scores of other less-publicised threats also threaten the future of the natural wonder.
Tourists snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, the outlook for which has been officially rated “very poor”.
It’s official. The outlook for the Great Barrier Reef has been downgraded to “very poor”, and the window to act is closing.
Resilient corals are offering hope for bleached reefs.
How super is a super coral? And what are they super at? Protecting our coral reefs means we need to find out.
Frank Hurley, fish underwater, 1922. Coloured lantern slide.
Australian Museum AMS320/V3242
In the days before scuba technology, the celebrated photographer sought to capture the beauty of the reef by placing corals in an aquarium and shooting them. But under stress, they released algae.
Bleached staghorn coral on the Great Barrier Reef. Many species are dependent on corals for food and shelter.
Corals, mangroves and seagrass habitats have been affected by extreme weather events, and some may never recover.
Plectropomus leopardus from the Whitsundays.
David Williamson/James Cook University
Strictly enforced no-take marine areas benefit everyone, from the fish to fishers.
Tourists are experiencing ‘Reef grief’.
Severe coral bleaching may have been the crucial factor in bringing home the reality of climate change for many people.
Bushfires ravaged parts of central Queensland amid heatwaves in November 2018.
Australia's environment took a beating in 2018, as temperatures rose, rainfall declined, the health of rivers and ecosystems worsened, and floods, droughts and bushfires all took their toll.
After repeated bleaching in 2016 and 2017 corals on the Great Barrier Reef are producing far fewer offspring.
Keep slip slop slapping this summer.
Despite bans around the world, there's no empirical evidence sunscreens cause coral bleaching.
Blacktip reef sharks are one of the most common species on the Great Barrier Reef.
Banning fishing in no-take marine reserves on the Great Barrier Reef does not protect sharks as well as received wisdom would tell you.
Fire danger conditions are worsening in many areas of Australia.
AAP Image/David Crosling
Australia is facing an increase in extreme heat, fire danger weather, floods and marine heatwaves, according to the latest biennial snapshot from the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO.
Sangalaki Island, Indonesia.
The Coral Reef Image Bank image provide by Simon Pierce.
Coral reefs are in trouble, but other marine species are also feeling the strain but are off the conservation radar.
Many Caribbean reefs are now dominated by sponges.
Marine sponges are ancient organisms that have survived mass extinctions. Many are more tolerant of climate change and may dominate over corals in future reef systems.
The GBR Foundation fills a gap in funding research that might be seen as too much of a risk by other agencies.
AAP Image/Alison Godfrey
Federal Labor has pledged to withdraw the A$443 million given to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. But the foundation's decisions are led by science, and free of undue influence, its chief scientist says.
Successive governments have seen the Great Barrier Reef not just as a scientific wonder, but as a channel to further economic development.
The $444 million awarded to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has been criticised as a politically calculated move. But governments have been asking what the reef can do for them ever since colonial times.
Marine parks protect fragile ecosystems, like coral reefs.
What would you do if you saw a fisher breaking the law? Would you report the offender to the police? Confront them? Or would you do nothing? These choices affect the future of marine protected areas.
acro_phuket / shutterstock
Scientists have used 'tree rings' in coral to identify centuries of stress.
Can geoengineering buy the coral reefs more time?
Oregon State University/Flickr
Climate mitigation efforts are unlikely to be enough to save critical ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef. We may need to consider more radical environmental engineering.