After numerous media reports said the Great Barrier Reef was dead from climate change, reef divers wanted to correct the record: coral bleaching doesn’t mean death.
Last month, researchers led by the ARC Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies said that many regions of this natural wonder were dead and global warming was at fault.
Now they’re back with even more dreadful news.
The government-funded ARC group, led by Professor Terry Hughes, recently completed aerial surveys to determine if the damage was centralized or spread across the 1,400-mile-long structure.
The group was also behind many of the misleading headlines sounding the reef’s premature death knell last month.
Bleaching, as many experts point out, is not the same as mortality, and can’t be determined from the cockpit of an airplane. The surveys that Hughes conducted can’t distinguish what caused the ghosting of the corals.
To determine the cause, divers need to do an up-close examination to determine if the bleaching was from storm damage, crown-of-thorns starfish (their number one predator), sea level rise, or warmer water.
The flyovers actually indicate the most likely cause was from low tides and falling sea levels.