The Great Barrier Reef’s corals are struggling to recover fast enough
Climate change is making ocean heat waves worse—a reality that increases the chances for mass bleaching and puts young coral in jeopardy.
In the hottest days of Australia's summer, just after a full moon, the Great Barrier Reef experiences an underwater snowstorm.
Along the massive stretch of reefs corals release millions of sticky eggs and sperm that float up to the water's surface and combine. They will eventually form larvae. Some will float down and settle on the nearby ocean floor, while others might be swept along by a current.
New research published Wednesday in Nature finds that warmer waters are making it harder for corals to reproduce en masse. In fact, following a major coral bleaching event in 2017 the amount of reproductive material collected in the water after a mass spawning event was down by 89 percent in the Great