The Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the world, has been declared dead. UNESCO listed the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site in 1981. Leading environmental writer Rowan Jacobsen published an obituary for the Great Barrier Reef considered to be one of Australia’s most remarkable natural gifts with the world’s largest coral reef.
The article published in the Outside magazine, says how the reef has ‘passed away in 2016 after a long illness’. The Great barrier Reef was 25 million years old, it was around 3000 kms long with over 300 individual reefs systems. It was home to the world’s largest collection of corals , coral sponges, molluscs, rays, dolphins, over 1500 species of tropical fish, more than 200 types of birds, around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years old.
The article cites the cause of death of the Great Barrier Reef to be that of bleaching, which was its biggest enemy. Coral bleaching happens due to increased water temperatures. When the corals are exposed to high temperatures it results in the corals expelling the algae that lives on it, on which it’s dependent for its survival.
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When the algae is expelled, the coral turns completely white, this process of bleaching leaves the coral incapable to secrete shell to form colonies of millions of individuals, which is home and habitat to different species of marine life including world’s largest populations of dugong and the largest breeding ground of green turtles.