Outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, which eat coral, have been linked to poor water quality.
Starfish image from www.shutterstock.com
To fix pollution on the Great Barrier Reef, some farming practices will have to change.
Bleaching events can leave corals weaker in the face of pollution and other stresses.
AAP Image/University of Queensland/Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
Authorities have moved the Great Barrier Reef onto its highest alert level in response to widespread coral bleaching. Months of monitoring will now be needed to assess the ongoing damage.
A bleached Seriatopora coral.
Right on cue, coral bleaching has struck the Great Barrier Reef, as the world's third mass bleaching event continues.
The Great Barrier Reef is made up of thousands of individual reefs.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr
Ocean acidification will hurt some parts of the Great Barrier Reef more than others.
Nitrogen pollution is one of the factors driving outbreaks of crown-of-thorns - giant starfish that devour the reef.
Kenneth Taylor Jr/Flickr
The latest Great Barrier Reef report shows some improvements to water quality over the past five years, but there's still a lot to do on one particular problem: nitrogen.
The government has convened 16 experts to help deliver its plan to save the Great Barrier Reef.
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland
The government's plan to save the Great Barrier Reef hinges on hitting a series of pollution and conservation targets within just a few years. A new expert panel will advise on how best to get there.
It’s still too early to declare that it’s blue skies for the Great Barrier Reef.
Underwater Earth/Catlin Seaview Survey/Wikimedia Commons
Whether it's on the official "in danger" list or not, the Great Barrier Reef is clearly under threat. UNESCO has placed its faith in Australia, but without urgent action the problems will not go away.
The Australian government's commitments to protecting the reef means it avoids the embarrassing classification - for now.
The Curtis Island gas precinct is one of the biggest developments along the Great Barrier Reef coast.
The coast alongside the Great Barrier Reef is home to ports, farms, holiday resorts, and more than a million people. It all puts pressure on the Reef, and it's time for some firms plans to manage it.
The MV Shen Neng I spills oil onto the Great Barrier Reef in 2010. Large accidents are rare, but there is still very little monitoring of long-term chronic damage from shipping.
Port traffic near the Great Barrier Reef will more than double by 2025, as coal and other exports grow. While major incidents are rare, the chronic toll on the reef itself still remains largely unknown.
Marine parks are valuable tools to help safeguard species such as seagrasses.
AAP Image/James Cook University
Australia's network of marine parks - a decade in the making and announced in 2012 - haven't been implemented yet, and the Abbott government has already placed the plans under review. Why the hurry?
The World Heritage Committee has called for a comprehensive assessment not just of the threats to the Great Barrier Reef, but of their cumulative effect.
AAP Image/Australian Institute for Marine Science, Ray Berkelmans
The government says it has met all of the recommendations for safeguarding the Great Barrier Reef. But a close reading of the dozens of UN recommendations shows that many have been only partly fulfilled.
There are more and bigger coral trout in parts of the Great Barrier Reef closed to fishing.
Fishing is a major threat to the Great Barrier Reef, but new research shows that areas closed to fishing just over a decade ago are home to bigger and more fish.
A dredging ship in Queensland’s Gladstone Harbour.
AAP Image/Dave Hunt
A new report aims to establish exactly what we do and don't know about the effects of dredging on the Great Barrier Reef, and suggests that managing fine sediments will be one of the biggest challenges.
The new Reef 2050 plan is taking the long view on protecting the Great Barrier Reef - but does it have the right vision?
The federal and Queensland governments have unveiled their blueprint for protecting the Great Barrier Reef for future generations. Will the $2 billion plan succeed? Our experts give their verdicts.
Abbot Point on the Great Barrier Reef, where dredge spoil will be dumped on land.
AAP Image/Supplied by Greenpeace
New plans to ban dredging on the Great Barrier Reef and dump dredge spoil on land won't save the reef.
Turtles are among the species that could be harmed by dredging, even under the government’s new dredge dumping rules.
AAP Image/University of QLD
The Australian government’s latest report on the Great Barrier Reef, submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre last Friday, has been carefully crafted and word-smithed, with many of its claims supported…
During an outbreak, crown-of-thorns starfish can number in the millions and decimate coral reefs.
Australian Institute of Marine Science/AAP
Crown-of-thorns starfish are one of the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef. Since 1985, the Great Barrier Reef has lost half its coral cover, with almost half of this coral loss due to the crown-of-thorns…
A diver on the Great Barrier Reef with a pair of Barrier Reef Anemonefish – cousins of the clown fish made famous in the film “Finding Nemo”.
The Great Barrier Reef is a national and global icon, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981. Since then, it’s become apparent that this vast array of marine ecosystems – stretching along 2,300 kilometres…
You didn’t need a onesie to get hot under the collar about sharks in 2014.
AAP Image/Theron Kirkman
Want a single word to sum up environmental affairs in 2014? Let’s go with “heated”. The year began with the realisation that 2013 was Australia’s hottest ever (and yes, it’s because of us), and ended with…