Great Barrier Reef erupts in color as corals lay eggs

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is bursting with color as the World Heritage-listed natural wonder recovers from life-threatening coral bleaching.

Scientists on Tuesday night captured corals fertilizing billions of babies by casting sperm and eggs into the Pacific Ocean off the Queensland coastal city of Cairns.

The spawning event lasts for two or three days.

The network of 2,500 reefs covering 348,000 square kilometers (134,000 square miles) has been severely affected by coral bleaching caused by unusually warm ocean temperatures in 2016, 2017 and last year. Bleaching has damaged two-thirds of the corals.

Gareth Phillips, a marine scientist with Reef Teach, a travel and education company, is studying spawning as part of a project to monitor reef health.

“It’s been a pleasure to see this reef spawn,” Phillips said in a statement Wednesday. “It’s a powerful demonstration that its ecological functions are still intact and functioning after being in the recovery phase for more than 18 months.”

“The reef has been through its own troubles like we all have, but it’s still manageable – and that gives us hope. I think we all have to focus on the victories. when we come out of the pandemic,” Phillips added.


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