The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is suffering from numerous threats, most notably coral bleaching from warming water temperatures. Local scientists have been able to develop a very thin, biodegradable film that’s able to cut off 30 percent of sunlight to lower the heat. While it’s not feasible to protect the entire reef, it could be the best answer to protect high-risk areas.
Coral bleaching takes place when water is warm enough to the point where algae is ejected from coral colonies, turning them white. The action itself doesn’t cause them to die, but creates stress for them and can lead to it. Terry P. Hughes, who studies coral reefs at James Cook University in Australia, believed “two-thirds of the reefs were dying and are now dead” when overseeing the Great Barrier Reef last March.
Massive coral die-offs have led to some scientists believing that the landmark can no longer be recovered. Even though it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it was omitted from the endangered list after these reports last summer. They cited that progress has been made with the Australian and Queensland government’s Reef 2050 Plan.