On the Great Barrier Reef in Australia’s Cairns/Cooktown region, on April 27, 2017, this image provided by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) depicts sick corals.
Mattocks, N. / AP According to an new report from the Australian Institute of Marine Science , the Great Barrier Reef’s coral cover in some sections is at its greatest level in 36 years.
The center and northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef had hard coral cover levels of 33 percent and 36 percent, respectively, from August 2021 to May 2022. In the southern region, coral cover shrank by 4% as a result of a crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak.
The Australian agency discovered that 87 coral reefs mainly experienced only minor acute stress due to events like storms and a rise in the number of crown-of-thorns starfish. (Crown-of-thorn starfish, which may grow to a maximum height of three feet and are the second largest in the world, feed on coral. They contain venomous spikes that are poisonous to both people and aquatic life.)
Two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef are represented by the region surveyed.
A third of the reefs had hard coral cover levels between 30 and 50 percent, whereas roughly half of the reefs evaluated had hard coral cover levels between 10 and 30 percent.
While there was a coral bleaching incident in some regions in March as a result of increased water temperatures, the agency claimed that the temperatures did not rise high enough to destroy the coral.
According to the Institute, coral in the Great Barrier Reef is tough and has been able to bounce back from previous disturbances. However, the factors affecting it have not completely subsided.
The agency’s prognosis predicts increased frequency and duration of cyclones, heatwaves, and starfish that resemble thorns.
The research stated that while the observed recovery gives encouraging news for the overall condition of the “Great Barrier Reef,” there is growing worry about its ability to maintain this condition.