The Great Barrier Reef is in big trouble.
Located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, the Great Barrier Reef stretches for over 1,400 miles. The reef itself is made up of living corals and it’s home to thousands of animals including over 1,500 types of fish, whales, dolphins, crustaceans, sea turtles, sharks, stingrays and in some places even saltwater crocodiles. It is so large, it can be seen from space. And it’s also dying.
Coral is a living organism. The Great Barrier Reef is made up of thousands of corals that provide homes and food sources for all of the animals living around the reef. Every year about 5-10% of that coral dies naturally. But in the years 2016 and 2017 fifty percent of the coral that makes up the Great Barrier Reef died or suffered bleaching, which means the corals turned white and expelled the algae living inside them.
Coral can come back from bleaching, it doesn’t mean the coral is dead, just under distress. But scientists worry that due to rising ocean temperatures and pollution, these large bleaching events will continue to happen every year until the Great Barrier Reef dies completely if we don’t do something to stop it.