(Mirror Daily, United States) – Over 90 percent of the Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest in the world, was affected by the biggest bleaching event in history.
Scientists discovered in April that this reef is in a critical situation, one that might be irreversible. This phenomenon is caused by climate change and possibly pollution.
Back in 2011, the Australian Great Southern Reef, which is 1,400-mile long, was devastated by a heat wave that destroyed 43 percent of the kelp forests. It was established that 62 miles of the coastline lost every single kelp forest.
According to Thomas Wernberg, lead author of the study from the University of Western Australia’s Ocean Institute, even if five years have passed since that unfortunate event, there are still no signs that the reef is going to recover.
There are also some species of fish which feed on the kelp, preventing in from growing back. These fish appeared in the Southern Reef area after the kelp forests were destroyed by the heat wave.
The Australia Southern Reef is part of the Indian Ocean ecosystem. This ocean gets warm twice faster than any other ocean or sea, meaning that there is a higher risk for such a phenomenon to occur. These waters get so warm because of the south current of the Great Southern Reef.
Even the slightest temperature rise can have a massive impact on the sensitive biodiversity of the ocean. For example, the ocean waters experienced temperatures with only 4 degrees F higher back in 2011, when the kelp forests were devastated.
Experts stress that these weather events predict that the situation will most likely escalate in Europe and Japan as well in the future. According to Adriana Verges, University of New South Wales marine ecologist, this phenomenon has brought the most concrete evidence that the world’s ecosystem is in dire need of help.
Governments, scientists, and many of the world’s organizations must become aware of the fact that they need to bring their contribution to improving the wellbeing of the oceans’ biodiversity. Otherwise, in a few years, we will see just deep water from the Southern Reef to Antarctica.
It means that many species of fish, seabirds, and mammals will most likely die because they will experience an unusual change in their environment to which they won’t be able to adapt. It is like a cycle. If seaweed dies, fish feeding on it will die too and so will many predatory fish which rely on other species as a food source.
Image Source:Creme De La Mere