Great Barrier Reef on sixth life in 30,000 years

However, scientists have assured us that the reef receives significant damage from pollution of the seas, which at it have a negative impact sedimentary rocks, formed due to the deterioration of water quality in the oceans. The next two death events happened near about seventeen thousand and thirteen thousand years ago because of a rapid rise in the sea level.

The study drilled fossil cores from a number of sites along the length of the reef, finding at various times it migrated both towards the shore and out to sea at rates of up to 1.5 metres a year to adapt to rising and falling sea levels and changes in water temperature.

Their research covers a period from before the "Last Glacial Maximum" or LGM - the peak freeze about 21,000 years ago during the last Ice Age.

According to a previous study published in Nature, roughly 29% of the 3,863 individual reefs that make up Australia's Great Barrier Reef were affected by the abnormal warming.

Two more death events occurred at the deglaciation period 17,000 and 13,000 years ago, this time brought about by the sea levels rising rapidly. Scientists expressed "grave concerns" about the latest death event since the reef is already under a lot of stress. However, as said by the researchers this range is not enough for the reefs to survive the present environmental changes.

Changes in sea temperature and acidity can cause corals to "bleach" - ejecting the algae that live in their tissue and provide them with food.

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Changing sea levels and drops in water quality have caused the reef to fight for its life five times through thousands and thousands of years, but it turns out, the reef is incredibly tough and adept at recovery. Researchers identified five "death events" in which large portions of the coral died off altogether.

The fact that the reef persisted through these events showed the researchers that it's more resilient in the face of danger than was previously thought.

The final reef-death event about 10,000 years ago, from before the emergence of the modern reef about 9000 years ago, was not associated with any known abrupt sea-level rise or "meltwater pulse" during the deglaciation. However, current forecasts of sea surface temperature change are around 0.7 degrees in a century.

This article has been republished from materials provided by The University of Sydney.

Today, the Great Barrier Reef is 2,300 km long and can be seen from space, lounging off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Jody M. Webster, Juan Carlos Braga, Marc Humblet, Donald C. Potts, Yasufumi Iryu, Yusuke Yokoyama, Kazuhiko Fujita, Raphael Bourillot, Tezer M. Esat, Stewart Fallon, William G. Thompson, Alexander L. Thomas, Hironobu Kan, Helen V. McGregor, Gustavo Hinestrosa, Stephen P. Obrochta & Bryan C. Lougheed.

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