Record sea temperatures cause third mass bleaching of Great Barrier Reef

News: Great Barrier Reef has suffered its most widespread coral bleaching on record.

Facts:

  • Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest and longest coral reef system. 
  • It is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. 
  • It stretches for 2,300km from the tip of Cape York in the north to Bundaberg in the south in Australia.
  • It is a World Heritage Area since 1981 (the world’s first reef ecosystem to be recognised by UNESCO)

Additional Facts:

Corals: They are small (0.25-12 inches), soft-bodied marine organisms that live in colonies called reefs that they build using a limestone skeleton (calicle) lying at their base. 

Coral bleaching: It occurs when corals lose the highly productive algae (termed zooxanthellae) from their tissues due to stress from high sea temperatures and solar radiation. Corals then turn white in colour.

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