Column: Life on Earth

This week’s topic: The Great Barrier Reef

By Elle Storoe

The Great Barrier Reef
Courtesy of The Great Barrier Reef Foundation

Located off the coast of Queensland, Australia in the Coral Sea, the Great Barrier Reef has the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with more than 400 types of coral and more than 5,000 different animal species. This reef is very important to us as it is not only home to thousands of different species, but it provides a buffer to the coasts from storms and waves. In addition, the reef provides an income for many people. The Great Barrier Reef, however, is dying. This beautiful reef is bleaching due to climate change and the water getting warmer. The warm water puts the reef under much stress causing the corals to expel the algae that’s living in its tissues, which causes the coral to turn white. After bleaching, the coral reefs begin to die. When the reefs die, the animals lose their home. When the animals lose their home, their species begin to die off. For the coast, there is no longer a buffer which means waves will be rougher and storms will hit harder. Sadly, this can lead to the decline of tourists and tourist attractions with those involved losing a lot of money. 

Now that we are aware, here is how we can help:  

Being more sustainable is always great. For example, using long lasting lightbulbs, saving water, anything that can help stop climate change. Other things to consider. If we go diving, don’t tough the reefs, wear reef friendly sunscreen, boat carefully, conserve water, and most importantly, pick up trash. Together we can help save the coral reefs.  

The Great Barrier Reef
Courtesy of The Great Barrier Reef Foundation

How others are helping:  

Tech Crunch has developed a robot that helps reseed old corals with new polyps. This Robot is called Larvalbot, who has a team that controls it at Queensland University of Technology.  

Florida researchers in Tampa’s Florida Aquarium and London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens are working on “Project Coral”. Project Coral is a coral reproduction lab, where their objective is to create coral egg deposits and re-populate the coral reefs in Florida.  

For more information on how you can help the Great Barrier Reef, please visit The Great Barrier Reef Foundation by clicking here!