CORAL BLEACHING: Peter Gash has concerns about coral bleaching caused by global warming and climate change.
CORAL BLEACHING: Peter Gash has concerns about coral bleaching caused by global warming and climate change. Contributed

Our reef gets taken to the nation

THE oceans off Bundy made national headlines this week with a team of scientists investigating climate change and coral bleaching in the waters off Lady Elliot Island.

This week's Australian Story on ABC focused on coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, including the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, the inaugural director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, studied climate change and the effects it had on the reef.

But it's not just the coral reefs that are suffering due to climate change, according Prof Hoegh-Guldberg - our turtles are being affected too.

"During the summer period the females are coming up and laying eggs,” Prof Hoegh-Guldberg said.

"The great issue with climate change is the fact the sand will get warmer and we know as a result of that they tend to get more females.

"With the sex ratio will skew to a lot more females.”

He said that would leave long-term problems in the population and a drop in turtle numbers,

The message behind the segment was to get the world to save the worlds reefs in a program called 50 reefs.

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort managing director Peter Gash was involved in the program and said he believed that now was the time to act to stop the threat to the Great Barrier Reef.

"Coral bleaching is predominately caused by warming ocean waters as a direct result of climate change and global warming,” Mr Gash said.

"Some corals are more resilient to the increased water temperatures than others.”

The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2300km and the northern portion, in warmer waters, has suffered more damage in last year's recent bleaching event than our Southern Great Barrier Reef.

He said our reef lives in cooler waters, and had experienced little bleaching that he was aware of so far this year.

"However it should not be assumed that this good fortune will continue forever,” he said.

"We all need to clearly understand the whole Great Barrier Reef is under threat from this man-made problem, climate change.”

Mr Gash said there was hope and we could all take action to reduce our carbon footprint wherever possible, as they do on Lady Elliot Island.

"We have reduced our fuel burn by almost 90% in the last eight years and are now running almost entirely on solar power in a hybrid battery, generator power station,” he said.

"This is a small scale example of what we should all be doing on the mainland.”

The episode of Australian Story can be watched on ABC's iView.



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