Australia’s report to UNESCO on the Great Barrier Reef obscures damage to key world heritage values, such as coral.
XL CATLIN SEAVIEW SURVEY
Australia says the reef's world heritage values are fine and the threats are in hand. But the reality is far different.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Corals at Scott Reef in 2012, and at the same site during the 2016 mass bleaching.
The Western Australian coral reefs may not be as well known as the Great Barrier Reef, but they're just as large and diverse. And they too have been devastated by cyclones and coral bleaching.
A new study found shallow water corals with high temperature tolerance in their DNA. Could they make reefs more resilient to climate change?
After repeated bleaching in 2016 and 2017 corals on the Great Barrier Reef are producing far fewer offspring.
AAP Image/Stuart Parker
Marine heatwaves have caused coral bleaching in one of the most isolated ecosystems in the world.
Children play on a beach in Palau, in the western Pacific Ocean. The country was the first to place a sweeping ban on sunscreen to protect its reefs.
(AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
As the mid-winter break draws crowds to beaches, tourists may be wondering if their sunscreen is toxic to coral reefs.
Keep slip slop slapping this summer.
Despite bans around the world, there's no empirical evidence sunscreens cause coral bleaching.
A coral reef in Chagos, British Indian Ocean Territory, experiencing catastrophic bleaching in 2015.
Anderson B. Mayfield
A coral biologist sampled corals from the most remote reaches of the Indo-Pacific and discovered that all of them show signs of stress.
A healthy coral reef on Millennium Atoll, Southern Line Islands.
Field samples, satellite measurements and isotopic data have shed new light on corals' eating habits.
Researching the most resilient corals could help us find ways to better protect reefs in the future.
Building an artificial reef.
Coral reefs are in crisis around the world, and may disappear entirely. 3D printing is a new idea to help them – but it won't be a cure all.
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.
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.
Staghorn and tabular corals suffered mass die-offs, robbing many individual reefs of their characteristic shapes.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies/ Mia Hoogenboom
The 2016 bleaching event resulted in 30% mortality on the Great Barrier Reef, with many corals dying of the heat before they bleached and the loss of branching corals creating less complex reef structure.