02 December 2005

Great Barrier Reef passes health check

The Great Barrier Reef has been given a pass mark after its biennial health check by the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Researcher Hugh Sweatman says it has surveyed more than 100 reefs to assess the damage caused by disturbances such as cyclones and crown of thorns.

He says the overall picture is good because coral has shown the ability to grow back when not affected by cyclone activity.

"The Barrier Reef is a huge place and what you find in an area like that is there's some bits that are not in good condition because the crown of thorns has just been there and there are other bits that have recovered from disturbances long ago and are in good condition," he said.

"So an overall picture, I think a general lack of disturbance means we should be optimistic.

"What we see on the Barrier Reef is that if you don't get disturbances, disturbances being things like crown of thorns outbreaks, cyclones and coral bleaching, well then the coral recovers, it comes back, and so the two years where there's no cyclones and no bleaching to speak of is good news for the reef because it gives the coral a chance to grow back."

Source: www.abc.net.au/news


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