According to new research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the Great Barrier Reef, the most iconic coral reef of the world, is now moving south, away from the equator, due to ocean warming. However, scientists believe that the Great Barrier Reef will not “migrate” off the coast of Brisbane, so it won’t move south too far because other factors will slow it down.
As the researchers reported in the paper published in the before-mentioned scientific journal, fossil records showed that the Great Barrier Reef used to move south whenever the waters’ temperatures got too high due to ocean warming. There are multiple examples from the past of the Australian coral reef when the reef moved south.
But, as the researchers stated in their paper, the “migration” of the Great Barrier Reef took place for over thousands of years. Also, now, ocean warming due to the climate change is taking place at a lower rate than in the distant past of the Earth, so the corals’ migration would be much slower than it has always been.
Ocean warming forces the Great Barrier Reef to move south
“It should also be borne in mind that reef corals, and coral reef ecosystems, are far less likely to survive other stressors, such as overfishing and pollution when residing in marginal habitats,” the scientists stated in their paper. “Furthermore, our projections … may be relatively optimistic in the face of anthropogenic climate change as they do not account for the impacts of ocean acidification,” they added.
Also, scientists think that studying fossil records might represent an efficient method for predicting how the Great Barrier Reef and other coral reefs around the world, as well, would behave as a response to climate change and ocean warming.
“To quantify the effectiveness of the world’s marine reserves, we must look beyond current methods to more scalable, cost-effective approaches, of which satellite-based observation of the world’s reefs may be one,” the scientists said.
Vadim is a passionate writer on various topics but especially on stuff related to health, technology, and science. Therefore, for Great Lakes Ledger, Vadim will cover health and Sci&Tech news.