greetbarrierreef Seaweed Is Great Barrier Reefs Biggest Enemy

Great Barrier Reef

New research has discovered that seaweed is leeching the life right out of the Great Barrier Reef and annihilating coral!

Researchers who were engaged in one of the most extensive water quality and pollution studies on the reef have concluded that seaweed is taking a toll on the $1 Billion a year tourist attraction.

Due to run off in the area, the water quality on the reef is extremely poor. The study discovered the level of nutrients and high turbidity of the water was increasing the occurrence of seaweed and decreasing the biodiversity of corals on the reef.

The areas which seem to be the most effected are the inshore reef to the north of the Burdekin River and the whole of the Wet Tropics zone from Port Douglas to Townsville.

“Seaweeds are a natural part of the reef,”
said Dr. Katharina Fabricius, an Australian Institute of Marine Science coral reef ecologist. “But what we don’t want is billions of algae smothering coral.”

“Choking is a loaded term but when seaweed abundance becomes too high there is no space left for coral to grow.”

This study and its results were recently published in the scientific journal Ecological Applications. The data published included data collected from 150 reefs and over 2000 water quality stations located across the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park since the early 1990′s.

Dr. Glenn Death, the principal investigator has said that the seaweed is now covering five times the coral under these poor water conditions.

“The diversity of corals was also affected, decreasing in poor water quality,”
he explained.

“Currently, the water on 22 per cent of reefs – about 647 reefs – on the Great Barrier Reef does not meet water quality guidelines.”

The conclusion that the study eludes to is that if the quality of the water was improved in the problem areas, then the seaweed would diminish to one third of what it is now, and the coral species would exhibit a 13 percent increase.

The area that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park covers is approximately 345,000 square kilometers and extends itself for 2,000 kilometers along the northeast coast of Australia.