Friday 19th of January 2018

the great barrier bleach...



Currently, a catastrophe is unfolding on the Great Barrier Reef – the biggest single living structure on Earth and one of the world’s natural wonders. From Cairns to the Torres Strait, vast ribbons of once-colourful reef are now ghostly white.

There has been substantial interest in the impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef. Particularly, the role of climate change on the current bleaching event.

This Communications Guide outlines the key facts about the current bleaching event, as well as providing some answers to frequently asked questions. We hope this guide supports a fact-based public discussion on the risks to the reef.


Picture at top from an advertisement for Queensland in the SMH, 1963. Smiling with your mouth opened under water is likely to lead you to drowning, but that's advertising for you.


queensland — bleached one day, coal dusted the next...

queensland tourist advert 1963

Protective mechanism that helped them survive past bleaching events, according to a new study.

Key points
  • 372 thermal stress events capable of causing bleaching in 27 years
  • "Practice runs" ahead of each event enabled corals to develop defences
  • Defences could be lost by 20-30 per cent of reefs if temperatures increase by 0.5 degrees C
  • More than 80 per cent of reefs will lose defences if temperatures increase by 2 degrees C


But more than a quarter of reefs could lose this protective mechanism within 40 years if sea level temperatures rise as little as 0.5 degrees Celsius above present levels, Australian and US scientists report in the journal Science.

Co-author Dr Juan Ortiz, from the University of Queensland, said their analysis of data from the past three decades showed corals were exposed to a "practice run" of gradually warming waters ahead of each bleaching event.

"We found historically in the past 27 years about 70 per cent of the thermal stress events have been characterised by a temperature profile that helps the coral to be ready for when the stress happens," Dr Ortiz said.

"The water becomes warm enough to send signals into the coral's metabolic pathways so the coral has a better ability to withstand the bleaching event."

read more:



The Queensland Government has approved mining leases for the $21.7 billion Carmichael coal mine and rail project in the Galilee Basin.

Key points:
  • Mining leases a major step forward for $21b project, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says
  • Adani said it aimed to start work in 2017
  • Queensland Government decision "appalling" in wake of severe coral bleaching, Greenpeace says


State Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham on Sunday approved the three individual mining leases about 160 kilometres north-west of Clermont for Indian company Adani.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a major step forward for the project after "extensive government and community scrutiny".

"Some approvals are still required before construction can start and ultimately committing to the project will be a decision from Adani," she said.


She said stringent controls would continue to protect the environment and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the interests of landholders and traditional owners.

"We are talking about thousands and thousands of jobs - 5,000 jobs from this project during construction and another 4,500 during the peak of its operations - it means jobs for local people as well," she said.

But opponents, including Greenpeace, claim the mine could harm the reef.


Stringent is never enough against exploitative sociopaths...



sunscreen to humans, poison to coral...

People need to avoid skin damage when they go to the beach, but many sunscreens include oxybenzone, and that's bad news for coral. Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explains what makes this chemical so harmful, and what we can do about it.

From the cradle to the grave, Australians are taught to use sunscreen to avoid sunburn and skin cancers. But the universe is complicated, with unexpected links—and so, everything has a cost. In this case, the cost appears to be that one popular sunscreen chemical seems to attack coral.

read more:

Oxybenzone has been proven to have harmful effects on coral. In fact, it has four separate bad effects on baby coral.


coral bleaching, 2016-2017...


Two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef has now been devastated by severe coral bleaching, with damage occurring further south this year, Queensland scientists say.

Two of the world's leading experts on coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef said aerial surveys they conducted this year along the reef's entire length showed an accelerated rate of bleaching in the central section.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies undertook the aerial surveys in both 2016 and 2017.

In 2016, bleaching was most severe in the northern third of the Reef, while one year on the middle third has experienced the most intense coral bleaching.

read more:


Stop the coal mines. See images at top.


Before we call rockfish,

Before we call rockfish, shrimp and crab “dinner,” some of these species call coral reefs “home.” But those reefs, home to a quarter of all marine fish species, are now increasingly threatened as rising ocean temperatures accelerate a phenomenon known as coral bleaching.

Large-scale coral bleaching events, in which reefs become extremely fragile, were virtually unheard-of before the 1980s. But in the years since, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science, the frequency of coral bleaching has increased to the point that reefs no longer have sufficient recovery time between severe episodes.

Jelle Atema, a professor of biology at the Boston University Marine Program who was not involved in the study, said the effects of more frequent bleaching events were very difficult to predict because of the complex networks of dependencies within reefs. But he said they could be devastating.

Read more:

No matter how you try to fudge it, CAPITALISM is the killer of reefs around the world. Please, do the sums...

global warming is the culprit..

“All projects funded through the ARC are subject to rigorous assessment and only the highest-quality applications are funded,” she said in a statement. 

“The ARC monitors all projects that it funds for the achievement of their goals. All projects funded through the ARC are expected to be undertaken in accordance with the Australian code for the responsible conduct of research, which applies to the quality and integrity of the research.”

Hughes did not respond to McKenzie’s comments directly, but included his most recent peer-reviewed articles in Science and Nature, which deal with the increased incidence of coral bleaching as a result of rising sea temperatures.

His Science paper, published on 5 January, found that coral bleaching events were now happening too regularly to allow the reef to adequately recover.

“We analysed bleaching records at 100 globally distributed reef locations from 1980 to 2016,” the paper reported. “The median return time between pairs of severe bleaching events has diminished steadily since 1980 and is now only six years.”

The CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Kelly O’Shanassy, said too much was at stake for tourism operators to blame scientists for what was actually happening to the reef and the real problem, climate change, had to be addressed.

“Blaming scientists and attempting to get their funding cut is the worst possible response to this crisis,” she said. “Scientists are not to blame. Big polluters and their political allies are to blame. We need high-quality science more than ever so we can monitor and track what’s happening to the reef.”

Darrell Wade, the executive chair of Intrepid Travel, also disputed the idea that talking about environmental problems kept tourists away.

“The idea that conservation and tourism could be at odds on this issue is crazy,” Wade said. “It’s been implied that talking about the issues will have a negative impact on business – but we’ve actually found that the opposite is true.”

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