Friday, April 24, 2009

Great barrier reef coral recovery

Good news from the Great Barrier Reef--bleached corals recovered 10 times faster than anyone expected.

Corals bleached (got very sick) in 2006 on the Great Barrier Reef, due to high temperatures. Experts thought the corals would die, but they didn't. Instead, corals have made a spectacular recovery. What happened? According to Science Daily:

the rapid recovery is due to an exceptional combination of previously-underestimated ecological mechanisms.

“Three factors were critical. The first was exceptionally high re-growth of fragments of surviving coral tissue. The second was an unusual seasonal dieback in the seaweeds, and the third was the presence of a highly competitive coral species, which was able to outgrow the seaweed.

“But this also all happened in the context of a well-protected marine area and moderately good water quality”, said Dr Diaz-Pulido.

“It is rare to see reports of reefs that bounce back from mass coral bleaching or other human impacts in less than a decade or two,” he adds

Before we get too smug about the future, we must heed the warnings of scientists that this is not going to be a typical outcome. OK, but I still want to be happy about a bit of good news.

1 comment:

chris said...

Thats great news, and its amazing how resilient corals are.