Great Barrier Reef news and updates

Rappler's latest stories on Great Barrier Reef

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Australia unveils starfish-killing robot to protect Barrier Reef

Aug 31, 2018 - 6:10 PM

Software will enable the bot to detect crown-of-thorns starfish, which eat coral, and "instigate an injection which is fatal" to the predators. The injection is harmless to other reef creatures.

RANGERBOT. This undated handout photo received on August 31, 2018 from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation shows scientist Matthew Dunbabin with the new RangerBot on the Great Barrier Reef in northern Queensland. Photo by Anthony Weate/ Great Barrier Reef Foundation/AFP

Australia pledges half a billion to restore Great Barrier Reef

Apr 29, 2018 - 1:01 PM

The World Heritage-listed site is reeling from significant bouts of coral bleaching due to warming sea temperatures linked to climate change

IN DANGER. An aerial view of a section of the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns, Australia, March 2017. Photo courtesy Ed Roberts/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Researchers find 'catastrophic' coral die-off on Great Barrier Reef

Apr 19, 2018 - 4:27 PM

Scientists say some 30% of the reef's coral died in the heatwave from March to November 2016

GREAT BARRIER REEF. An undated handout photo received from Australian Institute of Marine Science on October 2, 2012 shows bleaching on a coral reef at Halfway Island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. File photo by Ray Berkelmans/Australian Institute of Marine Science/AFP

Great Barrier Reef a $42-billion asset 'too big to fail' – study

Jun 26, 2017 - 12:25 PM

The study based on 6 months analysis comes as the reef suffered an unprecedented second straight year of coral bleaching due to warming sea temperatures linked to climate change

LIFE APLENTY. An undated handout picture made available by Australia's James Cook University (JCU) on January 31, 2016 shows marine life in the Great Barrier Reef, in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. James Cook University handout

Great Barrier Reef bleaching worse than first thought

May 29, 2017 - 10:35 AM

The impact will accelerate unless global greenhouse gas emissions are cut scientists say

BLEACHED. This undated handout from Biopixel released on March 10, 2017 shows a coral reef suffering from bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Biopixel/Handout/AFP

Reef damage could cost Australia a million tourists – study

Apr 12, 2017 - 1:57 PM

Even if parts of the reef hurt by bleaching bounce back scientists say it could take up to a decade for even the fastest growing corals to recover

DAMAGED. A diver swims amid bleached corals near Orpheus Island, March 2017. Photo by Greg Torda/ARC Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies

#ThewRap: Things you need to know, April 11, 2017

Apr 11, 2017 - 12:18 PM

Hello Here are the stories you shouldn t miss this Tuesday

An aerial view of a section of the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns, Australia, March 2017. Photo courtesy Ed Roberts/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

'Zero recovery' for corals in back-to-back Australia bleaching

Apr 10, 2017 - 10:39 AM

The Barrier Reef is already under pressure from farming run off development and the crown of thorns starfish

An aerial view of a section of the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns, Australia, March 2017. Photo courtesy Ed Roberts/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Great Barrier Reef may never recover from bleaching – study

Mar 16, 2017 - 10:34 AM

Record high temperatures in 2015 and 2016 drove an unprecedented bleaching episode

BLEACHED. This undated handout from Biopixel released on March 10, 2017 shows a coral reef suffering from bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Biopixel/Handout/AFP

Australia sees 2nd year of Barrier Reef bleaching

Mar 10, 2017 - 1:36 PM

According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority the back to back occurrence of widespread bleaching means there is insufficient time for corals to fully recover

GREAT BARRIER REEF. An undated handout photo received from Australian Institute of Marine Science on October 2, 2012 shows bleaching on a coral reef at Halfway Island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. File photo by Ray Berkelmans/Australian Institute of Marine Science/AFP

Plan to save Great Barrier Reef set back decades – experts

Feb 24, 2017 - 2:20 PM

An independent report says the unprecedented bleaching and coral die off in 2016 was a game changer

(FILES) This photo taken on November 20, 2014 shows an aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of the Whitsunday Islands, along the central coast of Queensland.  The plan to rescue Australia's Great Barrier Reef has been setback decades following last year's worst-ever bleaching event, a new report has found, while the reef's caretakers have cautioned the government to prepare for the likelihood of further bleaching this year. / AFP PHOTO / SARAH LAI

Scientists find huge ancient landslide on Great Barrier Reef

Feb 08, 2017 - 11:00 PM

The landslide probably triggered by a massive earthquake is estimated to have occurred around 300 000 years ago

This photo taken on November 20, 2014 shows an aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of the Whitsunday Islands, along the central coast of Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park encompasses about 99 percent of the World Heritage-listed natural wonder, with the additional one percent outside the marine park but within the heritage-listed area -- about 3,600 square kilometres (1,390 square miles) -- being managed by the Queensland state government and includes most islands and ports, as well as lakes and other waterways. AFP PHOTO / SARAH LAI / AFP PHOTO / Sarah Lai

2016 top science stories: Spacetime ripples, feathered dinos, a 'fairy' in space

Dec 20, 2016 - 12:00 PM

What are the biggest discoveries and ideas in science this year? The Mind Movers of the Mind Museum list down some of the most important ones from the past 12 months

Great Barrier Reef 'not dying,' Australia insists

Dec 02, 2016 - 8:49 AM

UPDATED The giant ecosystem is under pressure from farming run off development the crown of thorns starfish and climate change

PEEK-A-BOO. This photo taken on September 22, 2014 shows fish looking out from the coral of the Great Barrier Reef. William West/AFP

Record coral kill-off on Great Barrier Reef

Nov 29, 2016 - 1:37 PM

UPDATED Scientists estimate the northern region which teems with marine life will take at least 10 15 years to regain lost corals but are concerned that a fourth major bleaching event may occur before that

Scientists assess coral mortality on Zenith Reef following the bleaching event, Northern Great Barrier Reef, November 2016. Andreas Dietzel/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

'Many more' corals die in Great Barrier Reef bleaching

Oct 26, 2016 - 10:40 AM

It is the third time in 18 years that the World Heritage listed site which teems with marine life has experienced mass bleaching after previous events in 1998 and 2002

This photo taken on November 20, 2014 shows an aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of the Whitsunday Islands, along the central coast of Queensland. Sarah Lai/AFP

Great Barrier Reef report card paints bleak picture

Oct 20, 2016 - 12:07 PM

The giant ecosystem is under pressure from farming run off development the coral eating crown of thorns starfish and the impacts of climate change

This photo taken on November 20, 2014 shows an aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of the Whitsunday Islands, along the central coast of Queensland. Sarah Lai/AFP

Australian state buys cattle station to help Barrier Reef

Jun 22, 2016 - 8:00 PM

Run off from the cattle station carries sediment to the reef damaging it further

epa05346453 A handout picture made available by NASA on 05 June 2016 shows an image taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) using powerful lens to photograph three reefs of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, seen from space, 15 October 2015. The photo area spans about 15km of the 2,300km reef system. Reefs are easy to spot from space as the iridescent blues of shallow lagoons contrast sharply with the dark blues of deep water. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system on Earth, with more than 3,000 separate reefs and coral cays. It is also one of the most complex natural ecosystems, with 600 types of corals and thousands of animal species from tiny planktons to whales. EPA/NASA HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Third of coral 'dead or dying' in parts of Barrier Reef

May 30, 2016 - 10:31 AM

UPDATED The assessment was made following months of aerial and underwater surveys after the worst bleaching in recorded history first became evident in March as sea temperatures warm

DYING. An undated handout photo received on May 30, 2016, shows dying coral colonized by seaweed at Lizard Island during the current bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef. James Cook University/AFP

Australia removed from UN climate report over tourism fears

May 27, 2016 - 12:15 PM

Recent experience in Australia had shown that negative commentary about the status of World Heritage properties impacted on tourism says the Australian Department of Environment

GREAT BARRIER REEF. An undated handout picture made available by Australia's James Cook University (JCU) on January 31, 2016 shows marine life in the Great Barrier Reef, in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. File photo by James Cook University/EPA

Tobacco tax hike to add billions to Australia's coffers

May 03, 2016 - 9:51 PM

Australia announces measures to increase revenue including higher tax on cigarettes and a crackdown on firms engaging in tax avoidance

epa05288090 Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison (C) speaks during the delivery of the 2016-17 Federal Budget in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, 03 May 2016. Reports state Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison announced tax cuts for small businesses and fines on multinational companies that shift profits offshore to avoid taxes in Australia. EPA/LUKAS COCH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Large parts of Barrier Reef dead in 20 years – scientists

Apr 29, 2016 - 12:45 PM

The study is yet to be peer reviewed but the center took the unusual step of releasing it early because the reef is in such a dire predicament

20 YEARS. An undated handout picture made available by Australia's James Cook University (JCU) on January 31, 2016 shows marine life in the Great Barrier Reef, in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Handout photo by James Cook University/EPA

Comelec rules, Kidapawan probe, Great Barrier Reef | 12PM wRap

Apr 21, 2016 - 12:30 PM

Watch Rappler’s 12PM newscast with Chay Hofileña

Coral bleaching hits 93% of Great Barrier Reef – scientists

Apr 20, 2016 - 3:52 PM

Researchers at James Cook University said only 7 of the huge reef had escaped the whitening triggered by warmer water temperatures

BLEACHING. This undated handout photo released on April 20, 2016 by XL Catlin Seaview Survey shows a diver checking the bleached coral at Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. XL Catlin Seaview Survey/AFP

Industry threatens nearly half of natural heritage sites – WWF

Apr 07, 2016 - 12:30 AM

The vulnerable sites include Australia s Great Barrier Reef Peru s Machu Picchu and the US Grand Canyon Natural Park

epa02101737 A picture dated 01 April 2010 shows a general view of the pre-Columbian Inca city Machu Picchu in Cuzco, Peru, after its reopening. The Inca city has been been closed for two months due to strong rains. EPA/PACO CHUQUIURE

Worst bleaching on record for Great Barrier Reef – scientists

Mar 29, 2016 - 11:26 AM

Aerial surveys of Australia s Great Barrier Reef have revealed the worst bleaching on record in the icon s pristine north

An undated handout picture made available by Australia's James Cook University (JCU) on January 31, 2016 shows marine life in the Great Barrier Reef, in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. James Cook University/EPA

Calls for climate action over Great Barrier Reef bleaching

Mar 21, 2016 - 7:00 PM

The reef can recover but we must speed up the shift to clean renewable energy says environmental group WWF

An undated handout photo obtained from the XL Catlin Seaview Survey on March 21, 2016 shows a diver filming a reef affected by bleaching off Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef.  Environmental groups March 21 urged greater action on climate change after the government declared the highest alert level over an epidemic of coral bleaching in the pristine northern reaches of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. / AFP / XL Catlin Seaview Survey / Handout / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / XL Catlin Seaview Survey" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS == NO ARCHIVE

Evidence of coral bleaching on Barrier Reef as sea warms

Mar 01, 2016 - 3:38 PM

But we are concerned about a growing incidence of minor to moderate bleaching at multiple locations along the reef as the peak of summer approaches

This photo taken on November 20, 2014 shows an aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of the Whitsunday Islands, along the central coast of Queensland. Sarah Lai/AFP

Plan ensures Great Barrier Reef future: Australia

Mar 21, 2015 - 4:25 PM

The 35 year plan for the major tourist attraction off the Queensland coast includes a ban on the dumping of capital dredge material in the area and sets targets to improve water quality and marine life populations

GREAT BARRIER REEF. An undated handout photo received from Australian Institute of Marine Science on October 2, 2012 shows bleaching on a coral reef at Halfway Island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.Photo by RAY BERKELMANS/AFP/AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE

Fears over plastic-eating coral in Australia's Barrier Reef

Feb 24, 2015 - 2:30 PM

The scientists found that when they placed corals from the reef into plastic contaminated water the marine life ate plastic at rates only slightly lower than their normal rate of feeding on marine plankton

The Great Barrier Reef. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Australia's Barrier Reef 'risks becoming dumping ground' – WWF

Feb 09, 2015 - 12:48 PM

Australia s Great Barrier Reef could be severely damaged if the government does not completely ban the dumping of dredge waste in the World Heritage listed waters

ENDANGERED. The Great Barrier Reef may find itself in the UNESCO list of endangered world heritage sites. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Australia orders waste dumping ban on Great Barrier Reef

Jan 24, 2015 - 5:15 PM

The Australian government says it had put together a strong defense of the management of the reef so that UNESCO would not put it on its danger list

ENDANGERED. The Great Barrier Reef may find itself in the UNESCO list of endangered world heritage sites. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Plan won't save Great Barrier Reef: Australian scientists

Oct 28, 2014 - 11:09 AM

The draft plan is supposed to allay concerns by the United Nations about the reef s health after UNESCO threatened to put it on the World Heritage in danger list

PEEK-A-BOO. This photo taken on September 22, 2014 shows fish looking out from the coral of the Great Barrier Reef. William West/AFP

Great Barrier Reef survival key to indigenous identity

Oct 02, 2014 - 3:49 PM

To the world the Great Barrier Reef is a natural wonder and vast underwater kingdom but for indigenous Australians it is an indelible part of their identity

PEEK-A-BOO. This photo taken on September 22, 2014 shows fish looking out from the coral of the Great Barrier Reef. William West/AFP

Australia says UNESCO reef deferral 'a win for logic'

Jun 19, 2014 - 12:43 PM

UNESCO raises particular concerns about the approval in December of a massive coal port expansion in the region and allowing the dumping of millions of tons of dredge waste within the marine park waters

ENDANGERED WORLD WONDER. The Great Barrier Reef may find itself in the UNESCO list of endangered world heritage sites. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Australia says pollution falling at Great Barrier Reef

Jun 12, 2014 - 4:17 PM

A report shows reductions in key pollutants including sediments and pesticide run offs on the back of improved land management practices

GREAT BARRIER REEF. Aerial view of a portion of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

UNESCO condemns dredge waste dumping in Barrier Reef waters

May 01, 2014 - 11:22 AM

With the Great Barrier Reef already in poor health UNESCO says it condemns a decision to allow dredge waste dumping in the reef s waters

GREAT BARRIER REEF. Photo by AIMS Australia/EPA

Time running out for Great Barrier Reef – scientists

Mar 06, 2014 - 1:53 PM

Report: If we don t increase our commitment to solve the burgeoning stress from local and global sources the reef will disappear

ENDANGERED WORLD WONDER. The Great Barrier Reef may find itself in the UNESCO list of endangered world heritage sites. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Approval for plan to dump dredge spoil in Barrier Reef

Jan 31, 2014 - 2:06 PM

The decision follows the government giving the green light to a major coal port expansion for India s Adani Group on the reef coast in December

GREAT BARRIER REEF. An undated handout photo received from Australian Institute of Marine Science on October 2, 2012 shows bleaching on a coral reef at Halfway Island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.Photo by RAY BERKELMANS/AFP/AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE

Coal port plan will kill Great Barrier Reef: activists

Dec 11, 2013 - 2:55 PM

Activists say the government ignored the concerns of scientists tourism operators fishermen and UNESCO when they approved the coal port

ENDANGERED WORLD WONDER. The Great Barrier Reef may find itself in the UNESCO list of endangered world heritage sites. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Australia probes Great Barrier Reef board over 'mining links'

Oct 30, 2013 - 3:12 PM

According to the ABC two of the five board members of the agency overseeing the reef have close links to the resources sector

Aerial view of a portion of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Appreciating Apo Reef’s understated beauty

Aug 15, 2013 - 9:00 AM

This low key destination deserves to be on the bucket list of any diving snorkeling or even beach bumming enthusiast

GIGANTIC, ABUNDANT. The world’s second largest contiguous coral reef system in the world, Apo Reef Natural Park’s seas and islands teem with marine life. All photos by Rhea Claire Madarang

Australia's Barrier Reef slips into 'poor' health

Jul 10, 2013 - 12:13 PM

Environment Minister Mark Butler released a report card showing that the reef s health had slumped since 2009 due to cyclones and floods despite progress on reducing agricultural runoff

Aerial view of a portion of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Australia's Barrier Reef set for heritage downgrade - UNESCO

May 05, 2013 - 8:02 PM

UNESCO said little had been done to address concerns about rampant coastal development and water quality raised a year ago

Aerial view of a portion of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Campaign launched to save Great Barrier Reef from industry

Apr 28, 2013 - 10:43 AM

Conservationists accused Australia of failing to protect the Great Barrier Reef from massive industrial development

Australia failing UNESCO demands on Barrier Reef: WWF

Feb 01, 2013 - 11:22 AM

Australia insists that protecting the Great Barrier Reef is a top priority but WWF says not enough has been done to prevent UNESCO deeming it a world heritage site in danger

Australia admits neglect of Great Barrier Reef

Oct 03, 2012 - 3:57 PM

The Australian government admits the Great Barrier Reef has been neglected for decades after a study showed it has lost more than half its coral cover in the past 27 years

Image courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park official page on Facebook.

Great Barrier Reef coral halved in 27 years

Oct 02, 2012 - 12:23 PM

Australia s Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half its coral cover in the past 27 years due to storms poisonous starfish and bleaching linked to climate change

Image courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park official page on Facebook.