But governments have been asking what the reef can do for them ever since colonial times.
The question is not if we can save the coral reefs, but if we choose to.
Fully 16 per cent of the world’s tropical reefs died in 1998, and 2016 was even worse: 70 per cent of the world’s reefs were damaged, some irreparably.
Fully 30 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef turned into barren wastelands that year – climbing to 50 per cent of Australia’s crown jewel by the next summer.
That’s remarkable, and it shows that we can fix these things, we just have to start acting now.”And the place to start is not with reserves, but with research: understanding the complex biology of these strange animals and finding ways to protect them.
“We just need to apply cutting edge science to this,” says Dr Gates.
is a partnership between the NOAA Line Offices that work on coral reef issues.
We bring together expertise from across NOAA for a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and conserving coral reef ecosystems.
As ecological catastrophes go, it’s hard to find anything more bleak or depressing than the coral reef bleaching crisis.
We’ve known for 30 years that climate change leads to the death of entire coral reef ecosystems, and yet we’ve done almost nothing to save them.