GBR island coral decline
James Cook University
A long-term study of coral cover on island groups of the Great Barrier Reef has found declines of between 40 and 50 percent of live, hard corals at inshore island groups during the past few decades.
Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (Coral CoE at JCU) say the data was so alarming that they checked and re-checked it.
The study’s lead author Dr Daniela Ceccarelli and a team of researchers surveyed coral cover on fringing reefs of the Palm, Magnetic, Whitsunday and Keppel Island groups along the central and southern Great Barrier Reef, and compared it to historical records.
“Normal cycles of disturbance and recovery are natural, and the reef historically has had good recovery potential,” Dr Ceccarelli said.
“But human impacts are increasing the frequency of disturbances such as coral bleaching, leaving little time between events to allow a full recovery,” she said.
“We were shocked when we calculated the changes.”
Read the original article in Ecological Applications here: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/eap.2008