Great Barrier Reef simultaneously releases sperm and eggs

WION Web Team
Sydney, Australia Published: Nov 25, 2021, 10:22 PM(IST)

Coral surrounds a small island on the Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Queensland, near the town of Rockhampton, in Australia Photograph:( Reuters )

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It's a strong demonstration that its ecological functions are intact and working after being in a recovery phase for more than 18 months

The Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Queensland has simultaneously released sperm and eggs in its annual coral spawn.

Comprised of more than 3,000 individual reefs, it stretches for over 2,300 km.

The ecosystem supports 65,000 jobs in reef tourism. Globally, hundreds of millions of people depend on the survival of coral reefs for their livelihoods and food security.

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Bleaching is a stress response by overheated corals during heat waves, where they lose their colour and many struggles to survive. 

According to Australian marine biologist Gareth Phillips, ''Nothing makes people happier than new life -- and coral spawning is the world's biggest proof of that.''

''It's a strong demonstration that its ecological functions are intact and working after being in a recovery phase for more than 18 months,'' he added.

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Earlier, a study by James Cook University in Australia's Queensland state found coral bleaching has affected 98 percent of Australia's Great Barrier Reef since 1998.

The Great Barrier Reef has suffered three mass bleaching events during heatwaves in 2016, 2017, and 2020, leaving many affected corals struggling to survive.

The reef is also susceptible to harm from cyclones and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, which eat the coral, with both factors becoming more damaging due to climate change.

(With inputs from agencies)

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