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.
acro_phuket / shutterstock
Scientists have used 'tree rings' in coral to identify centuries of stress.
Silent Evolution by Jason deCaires Taylor. Taylor makes sculptures and sinks them beneath the sea to create artificial reefs.
© Jason deCaires Taylor
Not everything humans put in the ocean is garbage. From walls of tyres to sunken sculptures, reef restoration is both a science and an art.
New findings from the Chagos Islands are a perfect parable for the Anthropocene.
A life reconstruction of
Brindabellaspis stensioi, an unusual placoderm fish from the 400-million-year old Burrinjuck reef in New South Wales, Australia.
Jason Art, Shenzhen
Brindabellaspis had eyes on the top of the head, facing upwards, and a skull stretched into a long and broad snout. Although around 400 million years old, it was clearly a specialised fish.
Ingredients in many sunscreens are bleaching coral and harming marine life.
Scientists have discovered a natural sunscreen – made by microbes – that may be better for humans and the marine critters they are hoping to see.
The first March for Science, April 22, 2017, Washington DC.
On the eve of the March for Science, a marine biologist explains why she's returning from abroad to speak out for science in the Trump era.
Juvenile blue tang sheltering in restored staghorn coral.
With coral reefs in crisis around the world, many organizations are working to restore them by growing and transplanting healthy corals. A new study spotlights techniques that help restored reefs thrive.
The increasingly bleached coral at Black Point on the Cobourg Peninsula is a worrying sign of what’s to come for other coral reefs in Australia.
Coral bleaching has struck the Northern Territory, adding urgency to the need for better national management strategies for our warming oceans.
Yellow-bellied sea snake (
Coleman M. Sheehy III, Florida Museum of Natural History
Sea snakes spend their lives in the water, giving birth to live young at sea, so why are they only found in some of the world's oceans? The answer lies in a combination of climate and geography.
Researchers studied reef sands at Heron Island, Hawaii, Bermuda and Tetiaroa. In this photo, white areas show the predominance of sand on reefs.
Southern Cross University
Ocean acidification poses an increasing threat to the sediments that form the framework of coral reefs - within around 30 years, these carbonate sands may no longer be able to form.
If you want to live like a local when on holiday, you should defecate like one.
Biofluorescence makes researching cryptic species such as this Lizardfish easier and less harmful.
Maarten De Brauwer
Much of the world's ocean is teeming with 'cryptic' fish species, which are small and hard to spot. But a new technique shines a light on these fish, which may in turn help to keep our seas healthy.
Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.
If researchers shared their data, we could take a big step towards saving the world's coral reefs.
A plastic bottle trapped on a coral reef.
Coral reefs in the Asia-Pacific have been deluged with an estimated 11.1 billion pieces of plastic waste, increasing the risk of coral disease more than 20-fold.
Some reefs are strong sources of coral larvae.
A new study identifies dozens of individual reefs on the Great Barrier Reef that are especially important for coral larvae dispersal and which could help the entire ecosystem bounce back.
A vanishing world.
It is estimated that 75% of the world's coral reefs are already threatened.
The extent of future coral bleaching is likely to vary from place to place.
AAP Image/Bette Willis
Regional variations in sea temperature can make all the difference between a coral reef suffering major bleaching or surviving as a refuge for corals, new research shows.
Social media posts, such as this image uploaded to Flickr, can be repurposed for reef health monitoring.
Sarah Ackerman/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons
Mining social media posts from tourism hotspots such as coral reefs could turn tourists into environmental citizen scientists without them even realising it.
Parts of the Great Barrier Reef’s outer reefs can form a natural barrier to coastal recession, thus protecting urban centres.
Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef could lead to increased vulnerability of Queensland coastal cities and towns, and not only through its impacts on the tourism industry.