The Great Barrier Reef suffers. The problem? The human beings...

The Australian reef is in danger of disappearing and man is once again hiding behind the bleaching of the corals: what can we do

Great Barrier Reef: colorful corals
The Great Barrier Reef (Photo: iStock Photo)

La Great Barrier Reef continues to suffer and the problem, unfortunately, is always human beings. Within a few decades, in fact, the wonderful reefs found in the oceans And in the mari are in danger of disappearing forever. Blame a number of factors that are leading the Great Barrier Reef, year after year, towards decay.

A floating island in the Maldives against rising seas

Great Barrier Reef: fish and corals
Colorful corals surrounded by fish (Photo: iStock Photo)

High temperatures and CO2, the risks for coral reefs

At the top of the list of causes there is certainly climate change, in particular the increase in temperature of the waters and the devastating absorption of high quantities of CO2. A very serious problem for these extraordinary colonies of marine organisms that are undergoing a dangerous transformation.

On the one hand, in fact, we are witnessing the bleaching of corals caused by zooxanthellae escape, the symbiotic algae that represent the basis of nourishment for many invertebrates. When these algae, due to the warm water, move away, the corals undergo devastating degradation: first they turn white, taking on the appearance of skeletons, then they die. To this process is added the acidification of the oceans. The impact of this phenomenon is so marked that it even melts seashells.

A condition that looks set to get worse, as pointed out by scientists from National Sea Simulator ofAustralian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) of Townsville. Here, researchers study and breed the corals that make up the Great Barrier Reef. The aim is to collect valuable information in order to better defend the reef.

There are numerous studies in progress. Among the most interesting is the one, carried out in Townsville, linked to the creation of a possible extra nourishment for the Great Barrier Reef. The research, led by Lone Høj, ecologist and expert in microbiology, has in fact made it possible to develop a mix of probiotic supplements useful for the maturation and well-being of corals.

The team of scientists has in fact isolated numerous species of bacteria that are associated with corals to finally develop a solution capable of enhancing the their microbiome, making it resistant to ensure its survival.

The hidden pollution that is destroying our oceans

Great Barrier Reef: a diver explores it
A diver explores the coral reef (Photo: iStock Photo)

How can we save the Great Barrier Reef?

The question therefore arises: what can we do to save the Great Barrier Reef? First of all, it should be emphasized that joint (and immediate) actions are needed to reduce thepollution, protect areas that are still in good condition, restore degraded ones and focus on the blue economy. We can all do our part, without exception.

The priority remains the fight against global warming, necessary for slow down coral bleaching and warming seas. The imperative is therefore to drastically reduce gas emissions, save energy, moving to an economy based on low carbon emissions and a high use of renewables.

In fact, putting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere first of all means not acidifying the atmosphere waters of the oceans, hitting the calcareous skeleton of the corals. These actions should be accompanied by a necessary reduction in the production of waste, adopting the fair recycling practices and the decrease in consumption.

A drop of oil is enough to change the marine ecosystem

Great Barrier Reef: The sea is a delicate and complex ecosystem
The sea is a delicate and complex ecosystem

Blue economy and sustainable fishing to preserve reefs

THEblue economy it is another essential aspect to preserve the health of the Great Barrier Reef. Sustainable fishing, fish tourism, aquaculture and marine transport are activities that can create value if developed and followed in the right way. The target? Develop some scuba diving that can respect ecosystems and species, spread a culture linked to sustainable fishing, increase awareness and supervision for protect the waters.

Finally, it is essential to underline that coral reefs will have a greater chance of being preserved thanks to the creation of marine protected areas, effectively managed and networked, rich in species and in good condition.

The most sensitive areas, to be carefully preserved, remain the "refuge areas", located between 30 and 150 meters deep. These are points where the corals are less sensitive to bleaching, therefore useful for promote recolonization. At the same time, mangrove and phanerogam ecosystems should be protected, essential for the cycle and storage of carbon, useful for counteracting the accumulation of greenhouse gases.

Venice World Capital of Sustainability, projects and the future

Great Barrier Reef: its beauty
The beauty of the coral reef (Photo: iStock Photo)