Death of the Great Barrier Reef?

Angelina Fowler, Writer

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Many people have been misinformed after an article published by Outsider magazine and written by environmental writer Rowan Jacobsen stated that the 25 million year old Great Barrier Reef was dead. The claim blew up on social media; however the article is false.

The Great Barrier Reef, located parallel to the coast of Queensland, Australia, may be in the worst shape it has ever been in, but it isn’t necessarily over yet. The main problem is something called “bleaching.” According to Fox 8 News, “Bleaching occurs when coral are put under extreme stress by changes in conditions like temperature, light, or nutrients. In these conditions, they expel symbiotic algae from their tissues, causing them to turn white.”

Over 90% of the reef is affected by this condition. It has most likely been caused over the past few decades by the large increase in tourism, and global warming that is increasing the heat of our oceans. About a fourth of the reef is technically dead, but the rest is still alive and requires our help.

Research has shown that some coral will be able to adapt to the changing acidity and temperatures of the ocean, but there is still a lot we should and can do to minimize global warming and climate change. According to an article by the Guardian, “genetic engineering may be required to repopulate reefs, which are critical for thousands of marine species and a drawcard for millions of tourists.”

The reef has great resilience but we must do our part to conserve it and the rest of the ocean, because our failure to do so will haunt us in the future.

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