Summer heatwave bleaches 91% of Great Barrier Reef: Report

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which published the report late on Tuesday (May 10), conducted extensive surveys of the World Heritage-listed reef between September 2021 and March 2022.

It found that after waters began to warm last December, all three major regions of the reef experienced bleaching – a phenomenon that occurs when coral is stressed and expels brightly coloured algae living in it.

Although bleached corals are still alive, and moderately affected sections of the reef may recover, “severely bleached corals have higher mortality rates”, the report said.

Of the 719 reefs surveyed, the report said that 654 – or 91 per cent – showed some level of coral bleaching.