A massive flare-up of coral bleaching has been observed by scientists in the Gang Gurak Barlu National Park, situated in the Cobourg Peninsula during the summers. Strikingly, this place is around 60km to the Northeast of Darwin, which happens to be the native land of many of the Iwaidja-speaking indigenous people of Western Arnhem Land.
The Northern Territory hosts a set of unique marine ecosystems which, are mostly untarnished and receive proper water flow from the undisturbed rivers. Keep note of the fact that: there are various coral reefs with excessive breeding saltwater crocodiles, turtle population and sharks. Owing to this fact, here we have discussed on what coral bleaching is all about, emphasising on its genesis and how it is contributing to environmental damage while extracting information on the effects of global warming.
With the drastic climatic fluctuations, coral bleaching is foresighted to be more fierce and frequent in the near future. With the rise in sea temperature, coral stress is going to exaggerate as a result of which, the vulnerability on bleaching is about to get more severe.
Many types of corals enjoy a unique symbiotic relationship with the zooxanthellae (tiny aqua algae, which is responsible for giving much of the colour to coral reefs and live inside the coral tissues. These are known to be food producers which provide more than 90% of the total energy required by corals for growing and reproducing.
Coral bleaching takes place when the relationship in between the zooxanthellae and coral host breaks down. Without this vital element, tissues of the coral animal might appear to be transparent and white skeleton of the coral is being revealed. Once they bleach, they start starving heavily and most of the corals find it pretty difficult to survive without zooxanthellae. Though the corals can recover and get back their natural colour, if they regain the presence of this significant tiny algae. However, if not, the stress level will rise further, thereby decreasing the level of coral growth and reproduction, pushing them to die.
What Cause Coral Bleaching
The most crucial cause of this devastating phenomenon is increasing heat coming from the high sea temperatures. A temperature rise of around one degree celsius for a span of just 4 weeks can serve as the genesis of bleaching events. Subsequently, if the temperature remains the same for a longer period, (around 2 weeks), the corals will start dying. Other stressors such as pollutant-runoff, poor water quality and freshwater inundation (low salinity) can also trigger the coral bleaching phenomenon.
After the Great Barrier Reef, the Gang Gurak Barlu National Park has become one of the other areas of concern for scientists and environmentalists, that is exhibiting the devastating effects of global warming. Thus, uprooting this appalling aftermath has become immensely important to preserve the future and promote a sustainable future.