Australia’s Great Barrier Reef will stop growing by 2050

by Owen James

More depressing news about the retreat of the natural world – this time it’s the Great Barrier Reef that’s suffering:

Australia’s iconic and beloved Great Barrier Reef will be destroyed by erosion and swamped by invading algal slime within 40 years if current global warming trends continue, new research suggests.The research shows climate change has dramatically slowed growth rates of Porites or brain corals one of the biggest corals forming the reef’s structure sparking fears the reef will ‘’stop growing altogether” by 2050.

Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Queensland said the study showed the reef, which pumps more than $5billion a year into Australia’s economy from tourism, had already reached its ”tipping point” in response to global warming.

The institute’s principal researcher, Glenn De’ath, said the ‘’sharp and sudden” drop in coral growth rates had occurred across the reef, ruling out the possibility it could be a localised impact linked to poor water quality caused by urban and agricultural run-off.

”What we’re seeing isn’t a localised problem that’s occurring in one or two places. The decline in coral growth rates is spread right across the length and breadth of the reef,” he said.

Sometimes I wish I’d spent my childhood fascinated by cars or computers instead of living things. Ever feel like you backed the wrong horse?

On the other hand, Dr De’ath is probably in the right business…

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