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Analysis and Comment (15)

Bleached and healthy corals on the Great Barrier Reef near Queensland’s Keppel Islands. Bleached and healthy corals on the Great Barrier Reef near Queensland’s Keppel Islands. AAP

IPCC: Australia and New Zealand face greater fire and flood risk, damage to coral reefs

Australia’s coral reefs and mountain-top ecosystems are set to suffer from climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest summary of the research. The threats to these…
Bright colourful coral like this may soon disappear. Bright colourful coral like this may soon disappear. USFWS Pacific

Global warming’s evil twin: ocean acidification

Greenhouse gas emissions have warmed the oceans in regions such as the Baltic by as much as 1.3°C. It is now thought that 90% of the heat added to the climate system by humans has been absorbed in the…
A fire coral and friends, Millepora intricata in a lagoon on the Great Barrier Reef. A fire coral and friends, Millepora intricata in a lagoon on the Great Barrier Reef. Mike Emslie and Daniela Ceccarelli

Australian endangered species: Fire corals

The fire coral (Millepora boschmai) is one of the rarest species of coral in the world. It is known only from a small number of locations in the Pacific Ocean, Panama and Indonesia, and it appears this…
Recent research shows an acidifying ocean is more damaging to coral than we’d hoped. Recent research shows an acidifying ocean is more damaging to coral than we’d hoped. Community Eye Health

Jumps in ocean acidity put coral in more peril

Ocean acidification - where the ocean becomes less alkaline as it absorbs excess CO2 from the atmosphere - has been described as the evil twin of global warming. Yet, remarkably, it is only over the past…
Everyone wants good news about coral, but we shouldn’t misinterpret the latest findings. Everyone wants good news about coral, but we shouldn’t misinterpret the latest findings. Phil Camill

Research good news for coralline algae, but not necessarily for reefs

As Doha disappoints on delivering any real progress on reducing global CO2 emissions, new research demonstrates that a key component of coral reef structures may be more resilient in the face of increasing…
A high level of coral cover doesn’t always mean a high level of species diversity; and diversity is important. A high level of coral cover doesn’t always mean a high level of species diversity; and diversity is important. Maria Beger

A lot of coral doesn’t always mean high biodiversity

The health and productivity of coral reefs is rapidly declining. Hard corals are the principal builders of coral reef ecosystems; however they are struggling to survive due to pollution, catchment clearing…
Killing starfish one by one is no long-term solution. Killing starfish one by one is no long-term solution. Paul Cizek

Crown of Thorns is a symptom of reef decline: let’s address the cause

A recent report on coral loss from the Great Barrier Reef has pointed the finger at cyclones and Crown of Thorns starfish. The real culprit is human activity, and until we reduce port activity and pollution…
The Great Barrier Reef may be huge and long-lived, but without intervention it’s in serious trouble. The Great Barrier Reef may be huge and long-lived, but without intervention it’s in serious trouble. Landfeldt/Flickr

The decay of the Great Barrier Reef calls for a reckoning

There is a myth about Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, that goes like this: because it is so big, biodiverse, so well-managed and generally bloody awesome, the GBR is immune to climate change and other…
We thought we’d set a safe limit on climate change - 450ppm CO2 - but it may be too high for most of the world’s reefs. We thought we’d set a safe limit on climate change - 450ppm CO2 - but it may be too high for most of the world’s reefs. Paul Toogood

Climate change guardrail too hot for coral reefs?

One of the ambitions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is galvanising the international community to avoid dangerous interference with Earth’s climate. To do this, it…
Little penguins are among a number of species that are threatened by climate change. Little penguins are among a number of species that are threatened by climate change. AAP/Rick Stevens

Ocean winners and losers revealed in Marine Report Card

Fish are on the move in Australia’s waters. In southern Australia, scientists, commercial and recreational fishers, divers and beach-goers are reporting the presence of new species. The movement of species…
Coral species Acropora monticulosa is becoming more abundant at the Solitary Islands in northern NSW. Coral species Acropora monticulosa is becoming more abundant at the Solitary Islands in northern NSW.

On the move: corals migrate south into NSW’s warming waters

The east coast of Australia is a global hotspot for the effects of climate change, especially in the marine realm, where average water temperatures have increased by almost half a degree over the last…
The Coral Sea could soon become the world’s largest marine park. The Coral Sea could soon become the world’s largest marine park. babasteve

Does the Coral Sea marine park proposal provide enough protection?

The release of the Coral Sea Commonwealth marine reserve proposal is a milestone achievement in marine protection. The area proposed to be covered is larger than that of many small European nations. In…
Coral bleaching is a serious issue, but we’re learning how reefs can best recover. Coral bleaching is a serious issue, but we’re learning how reefs can best recover. AFP/Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Back from the bleach – how isolation helps coral reefs recover

Coral reefs around the world are under pressure from multiple threats. A burgeoning gas industry – such as that near Gladstone – is one of the newest of these. Pollution, sedimentation, declining water…
Protecting coral reefs means thinking about people, not just marine species. Protecting coral reefs means thinking about people, not just marine species. Fran Tapia

Poverty, not population, is ruining coral reef ecosystems

Overfishing is a serious problem on many of the world’s coral reefs – a problem that is generally attributed to too many people. But our research has found that economic development, rather than population…
Coral reefs may cease to exist – where will their inhabitants go? Coral reefs may cease to exist – where will their inhabitants go? Nick Hobgood

Species affected by climate change: to shift or not to shift?

Human-induced climatic changes are altering ecosystems worldwide. Because of these ecosystem changes, the geographic range of species is shifting towards the poles or to higher elevations. The speed of…

Research and News (6)

Research Briefs (13)

Human sewage killing corals

The source of the coral-killing pathogen that causes white pox disease in Caribbean elkhorn coral has been identified Human…