News: Great Barrier Reef has suffered its most widespread coral bleaching on record.
- Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest and longest coral reef system.
- It is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
- It stretches for 2,300km from the tip of Cape York in the north to Bundaberg in the south in Australia.
- It is a World Heritage Area since 1981 (the world’s first reef ecosystem to be recognised by UNESCO)
Corals: They 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.
Coral bleaching: It 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.