- Australian scientists have said that corals in Lord Howe Island Marine Park, Australia has started showing signs of bleaching due rising sea temperatures from climate change. However, bleaching is highly variable across Lord Howe Island. Severe bleaching of up to 90% has been found at Lord Howe’s inshore, shallow lagoon reefs. While, deeper-water corals in the marine park has been reported healthy.
- It is the world’s southernmost coral reef and is the coral reef closest to a pole. Lord Howe Island was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982. The Lord Howe Island is located in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand.
- Corals are small (0.25-12 inches), soft-bodied marine organisms that live in colonies called reefs that they build using a limestone skeleton (calicle) lying at their base. Despite covering less than 0.1% of the ocean floor, reefs host more than 25% marine fishes and many other marine animals. They are called “Rainforests of the Oceans”
- Coral bleaching occurs when corals lose the highly productive algae (termed zooxanthellae) from their tissues due to stress from high sea temperatures and solar radiation. Corals then turn white in colour.
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