We now have a 2017 event, which is not quite as bad as 2016, but certainly worse than the first two events that we studied [in 1998 and 2002]. That is significant because it postpones any hope of recovery. The current bleaching occupies a different geographical footprint from last year, which is bad news because it means between last year and this year a much greater extent of the Great Barrier Reef has now been damaged. In 2017, the hot water was in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, the central section; last year it was in the north.
Great Barrier Reef
“I’m very worried about acidification. Some coral species will substitute for others, but if you lose table corals and tall branching corals, most of nooks and crannies – the hiding places for juvenile fish – will disappear. And it’ll directly affect humans being because fish stocks will be affected.”
But if current trends continue, the unthinkable could happen: the Great Barrier Reef could die.