New study underlines decline of Great Barrier Reef

Article Summary:

A new study (pdf download) of the Great Barrier Reef carried out by Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America shows that from 1985 to 2012, mean coral cover declined in a nonlinear fashion from 28.0% to 13.8% which is an equivalent total decline of 14.2% or an actual reduction of 50.7% in the actual coral cover. Perhaps more disturbingly this should represent an annual decline of 0.53% per year, whereas two-thirds of the decrease has actually occurred since 1998.

The causes of the decline are listed as being: Storms, crown of thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching.