Australia’s Great Barrier Reef lost more than half its coral cover in the past 27 years

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 which lost more than half its coral cover in the past 27 years due to storms, poisonous starfish and bleaching linked to climate change, a study has found. The study by researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) and the University of Wollongong warned that coral cover on the heritage-listed reef — the world’s largest — could halve again by 2022 if trends continued. Intense tropical cyclones were responsible for much of the damage, accounting for 48 percent, with outbreaks of the coral-feeding crown-of-thorns starfish linked to 42 percent.

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