New Great Barrier Reef research expedition to look cause of 'massive 2016 bleaching'

2017-08-14 18:00 - Gabi Zietsman
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Cape Town - Non-profit organisation Great Barrier Reef Legacy has received funding from private tourism company Northern Escape Collection to undergo a research expedition to bleached parts of the famous coral reef.

According to The Guardian, the Australian company donated AUD$160 000 (about R1.6m @ R10.46/AUD$ ) to Great Barrier Reef Legacy, as well provide their 32-metre charter boat for the trip, as a concerted conservation effort in determining how best to combat severe bleaching of the reef.

For 21 days the research team, which will include 10 scientists, will assess northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef and determine if there are any coral that have been resistant to the recurring bleaching, which may lead to a solution.

SEE: Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching could cost Australia a million tourists: study

Hayley Morris, the executive director of Northern Escape Collection, told The Guardian that the decision was easy as the company has been worried about the state of the reef over the last two tourist seasons. “We believe the more information the public know, the more pressure will be put on politicians to take actions to protect it. Being part of the Queensland tourism industry we are also concerned about what these events are doing to such an integral part of Queensland’s identity.” 

'Team meeting' after a minke whale encounter on the Great Barrier Reef. #adventurewithpurpose

A post shared by Great Barrier Reef Legacy (@gbrlegacy) on

It's been difficult to assess the full damage done to the Great Barrier Reef after mass bleaching events in the last year due to the size and remoteness of the reef, said Dean Miller, director for science and media at Great Barrier Reef Legacy. “That is why we are launching this expedition, to provide essential access and support for scientists so we can understand how the reef has fared and report direct to the public.”

ALSO SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruths: Great Barrier Reef may never recover from bleaching

In a study released in March, scientists claimed that the Great Barrier Reef may never recover from a massive bleaching episode in 2016, caused by extremely high temperatures, and foresee another mass bleaching episode in the next decade.

What to read next on Traveller24

- #ShockWildlifeTruths: Great Barrier Reef may never recover from bleaching 

Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching could cost Australia a million tourists: study 

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