Global warming is stopping the Australian great Barrier Reef from recovering from bleaching.
Research has found warmer waters stops the coral from begin able to reproduce and rebound.
Previous studies have also discovered warmer waters are responsible for bleaching corals, with the iconic Great Barrier Reef experiencing four events in 1998, 2002, and back-to-back in 2016 and 2017.
‘Dead corals don’t make babies,’ said lead author Professor Terry Hughes at James Cook University (JCU) in North Queensland, Australia.
‘The number of new corals settling on the Great Barrier Reef declined by 89 per cent following the unprecedented loss of adult corals from global warming in 2016 and 2017.’
The study measured how many adult corals survived along the length of the world’s largest reef system following extreme heat stress events.
It also examined how many new corals they produced to replenish the Great Barrier Reef in 2018.
The loss of adults resulted in a crash in coral replenishment compared to levels measured in previous years before mass coral bleaching.
‘The number of coral larvae that are produced each year, and where they travel to before settling on a reef, are vital components of the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef,’ said co-author Professor Andrew Baird.