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Wednesday, April 08, 2020, 18:06
Great Barrier Reef records most widespread bleaching in history
By Xinhua
Wednesday, April 08, 2020, 18:06 By Xinhua

This undated handout photo received on April 6, 2020 from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, shows coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. (PHOTO / AFP)

SYDNEY — Australia's Great Barrier Reef just recorded the most wide spreading coral bleaching in its history, a reef expert told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Professor Morgan Pratchett, the research leader in Coral Reef Ecology from James Cook University said the results came directly from the aerial surveys that were conducted by his colleague professor Terry Hughes.

The survey showed that in 2020 there were reefs with severe bleaching along the entire length of this reef system

Professor Morgan Pratchett, Research leader in Coral Reef Ecology from James Cook University

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"(The survey) showed that in 2020 there were reefs with severe bleaching along the entire length of this reef system," Pratchett told Xinhua.

"By comparison, the bleaching that was recorded in 2016 and 2017 was largely restricted to the northern sections of the Great Barrier Reef, and so this is the first time that severe bleaching has been recorded in the southernmost sections of the reef."

READ MORE: Study: Australia's Great Barrier Reef survived 5 'death events'

The latest coral bleaching happened after the Great Barrier Reef area recorded the highest sea temperatures in February since 1900, creating the third mass bleaching in just five years.

The previous two happened in 2016 and 2017 and the Australian governing agency subsequently lowered the long-term outlook of the Great Barrier Reef to "very poor."

During the mass bleaching in 2016, more than half of shallow-water corals in the reef's northern reaches died.

"We will go back underwater later this year to assess the losses of corals from this most recent event," Pratchett said.


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