A close-up look at the Great Barrier Reef’s bleaching
April 14, 2016 - Uncategorized
These images are a selection of photos taken recently near Lizard Island off the north Queensland coast in Australia. They document the ongoing bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef as ocean temperatures continue to be driven upward by climate change.
The bleaching process
Before corals bleach, they are often a deep brown or khaki-green colour. These colours come from the symbiotic algae (sometimes called zooxanthellae) that co-exist with the coral polyp.
During bleaching, as the symbiotic algae depart, you can see the beautifully coloured polyps. Sometimes polyps are transparent and we see only the white skeleton beneath. Other polyps may be brightly coloured, as seen here. Read more…