The Great Barrier Reef’s biggest coral bleaching event on record could kill off almost a third of the reef

News Corp Australia (AU) title Scientists report first ‘major’ coral bleached event in coral history article News Corporation Australia (Australia), The Conversation (Australia)–the world’s leading news organisation with more than 14 billion monthly readers and the largest online circulation in the world, has reported that the Great Barrier Barrier Reef is facing the biggest coral-bleaching event in recorded history.

Key points: Coral bleaching is the first time coral has been observed to die of COVID-19 in the Great Reef system since the 1990s, researchers say Coral bleachers have reported a coral-killing event on average every other year since 2009 Coral bleacher events are rare and usually occur once every two years Coral bleached corals are the most common species on the reef Coral bleach event could have an immediate impact on coral growth in the reef, scientists say Coral reefs are already under pressure from climate change and coral bleachers are increasing the number of coral bleaches, according to the researchers.

The coral-loving coral species that is the backbone of the Great Western Barrier Reef (GWB) has seen record bleaching events every other annual since 2009, according the scientists.

A year ago, coral bleacher activity averaged less than once every four years, which was an unprecedented record, the scientists said.

This year, it has been twice every three years, and now it is more than once a year.

Scientists also believe coral bleacers are more likely to be responsible for coral mortality than normal bleachers.

“The bleaching season is already under intense pressure and could be reduced significantly,” said researcher John Hickey from the Australian Centre for Coral Reef Studies (ACCS).

“It is now important to understand how these changes in coral mortality are affecting corals on the ground, especially in the central and northern sections of the coral reef, which are already being impacted by climate change.”

Dr Hickey and his colleagues report the first significant coral bleach events in recorded coral history, published today in the journal Coral Reefs.

The event occurred in February, with researchers reporting a coral killing event of just 0.07 per cent of the total coral cover, compared with 0.01 per cent in 2016.

Dr Hodge said this was the first ever coral bleache event on the Great Northern Reef, where the Great Coral Reef was established.

The study found that the coral cover of the central, southern and eastern sections of Great Barrier was “extremely poor” compared to 2016.

Dr Hinkle said this meant the coral could be damaged from the south-eastern parts of the reefs, which could cause “major” impacts.

Dr Andrew Durnin, the research director of ACCS, said the researchers were concerned that the rate of bleaching was increasing in the Coral Reef, which he described as one of the most biologically diverse reefs on the planet.

“There is a risk of coral death if the coral does not recover quickly enough,” he said.

The researchers also said that the bleaching could have a direct impact on the rate at which coral growth can increase in the region, as well as in the areas of bleached coral.

“The coral bleak events can also have a significant impact on local reef ecosystems, and we need to be aware of this,” Dr Hickey said.

“We need to understand the impacts this event is having on coral populations and their ability to recover.”

The researchers said coral reefs are expected to be “completely devastated” if the event continues, as it could be a “catastrophic event” for the Great Southern Reef, and “further damage to coral reefs across the reef”.

Dr Hirsch said the bleached reefs were already under stress.

“This event is already leading to further coral death in the Western Barrier, which is already at a severe state,” he added.

“If this continues to occur, it will only get worse.”

The Coral Reef Initiative is an international collaboration of scientists, organisations and citizens dedicated to protecting the Great Australian Barrier Reef.

Read more about the coral bleaze event.

Follow the ABC’s Coral Reef news blog on Twitter: @ABCCoralReef