Great Barrier Reef Hit by Coral Bleaching

Now to the coast of Australia, where there's growing concern over a coral bleaching event in the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to thousands of plants and animals and is the world's largest coral reef system…So large it's even visible from space! But, new video shows a high level of bleaching in the northern stretch of the reef. That's when sea temperatures get too high or too low and coral gets stressed, losing its original color...and begins struggling to survive.

Experts mainly blame the current widespread bleaching on warmer than average ocean temperatures. An aerial survey of the northern Great Barrier Reef revealed 95% of the reefs are now severely bleached. Authorities raised the response level to the highest level, allowing more surveying and monitoring of the fragile reef ecosystem.

But researchers working on a massive project which spans 56 islands and includes 450 coral reef locations say there is reason for optimism. The group found that reefs around uninhabited, or unpopulated, islands were able to bounce back from environmental stressors.

Instructional Links

Magazine Article PDF: At Coral Reef, Humpty Dumpty's Magazine. May/Jun2014.,ip,custuid&custid=infohio

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Magazine Article PDF: Reef Rescuer, Scholastic SuperScience. May/Jun2015.,ip,custuid&custid=infohio

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Interactive Activity & Lesson Plan: Coral Bleaching Activity

Website Article & Infographic: National Ocean Service: What is Coral Bleaching?

Website Article: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Facts about the Great Barrier Reef

Website Article & Classroom Resources: Science for Kids, Great Barrier Reef

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