Run-off stressing inshore reef coral

BarrierReefInshore_080806

A new study of the Great Barrier Reef shows the coral inshore is in sharp decline, in comparison to the reef further off the coast. A team of scientists examined the reef near Mackay, in northern Queensland, over a two-week period earlier this year.

University of Queensland researcher Guy Marion says increased nutrients and sediment from farming and development have stressed and killed inshore coral.

But he says the reef offshore is in excellent condition.

“Fifty kilometres offshore, you have the healthy outer Great Barrier Reef environment that people imagine and equate with the reef,” he said.

“As you move in from there, you go through this quite rapid change in the environment towards a more algal-dominated environment, seagrass-dominated environment over the coral-dominated environment of the offshore.”

The reef inshore has also been badly bleached by higher water temperatures.

Source: ABC News (Australia)

Image: NASA