Great Peril in the Great Barrier Reef

Giant clam Tridacna gigas

The Great Barrier Reef was pronounced dead on Tuesday, Oct. 11 after 25 million years on Earth by Rowan Jacobsen of Outside magazine. This news sent everyone into a panic. But the obituary was not entirely true—some of the Great Barrier reef is still alive.

“There is still close to 40 percent coral cover at most reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef, and the corals that were moderately bleached last summer have nearly all regained their normal colour,” chief investigator at ARC Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies Andrew Baird said.

A view of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo by Lock the Gate Alliance [CC-BY 2.0] via Flickr.
The ocean warming is causing the coral reef to bleach itself until it dies. Because of this, a majority of the reef is either dead, dying or weakened.  

Although the news of the dying coral reef is devastating, many scientists still have hope that the remaining coral reef can be saved.

“The message should be that it isn’t too late for Australia to lift its game and better protect the GBR, not we should all give up because the GBR is supposedly dead,” director Terry Hughes of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said.

One way Scientists are working hard to save what is left of the Great Barrier Reef is by finding a new kind of healthier coral that has a higher tolerance to stress, and temperature.

“Peter Harrison, a marine scientists from Southern Cross University, has also come up with a way to save coral reefs damaged by dynamite fishing. Harrison pumps out healthy coral sperm and eggs and floods them in the affected area,” said Monica Antonio of

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the world, large and vibrant enough in color to be seen from outer space. The reef has the ability to stop hurricanes, typhoons and tsunamis. Many species of marine animals come to breed and live in the reef.

A map of the Great Barrier Reef.

“The reef was the largest living structure, and the only one visible from space,” according to Outside magazine. “[The Great Barrier Reef] harbored 1,625 species of fish, 3,000 species of mollusk, 450 species of coral, 220 species of birds, and 30 species of whales and dolphins, It was home to one of the world’s largest populations of dugong and the largest breeding ground of green turtles.”

For more information on the Great Barrier Reef and its situation, visit

(Featured photo by Jan Derk [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons)