The Fringing Reefs of the Whitsundays are recovering well from the moderate bleaching that occurred this summer according to the resident marine biologist and Living Reef manager on Daydream Island, John Gaskell. Mr Gaskell said that despite concerns of widespread coral bleaching along The Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday region…

WHITSUNDAYS REEF RECOVERING WELL FROM HOT SUMMER: MARINE BIOLOGIST

The Fringing Reefs of the Whitsundays are recovering well from the moderate bleaching that occurred this summer according to the resident marine biologist and Living Reef manager on Daydream Island, John Gaskell.

Mr Gaskell said that despite concerns of widespread coral bleaching along The Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday region has coped relatively well throughout this summer’s El Nino weather conditions which have particularly affected the reef further north.

“A warmer ocean combined with extended summer periods does pose a serious threat to corals, however we haven’t seen large areas of coral bleaching around Daydream Island and the surrounding inshore Islands of the Whitsunday region,” Mr Gaskell said.

“We have been monitoring patchy bleached areas and the corals are, for the most part, well on their way to recovery now that the water has cooled.”

“Bleaching occurs during an event that causes stress to corals. If the conditions become unsuitable, the corals expel their symbiotic algae called Zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae gives the coral its colour and is responsible for the majority of coral dietary requirements.

“Heat stress due to warmer water is the main contributing factor that leads to coral bleaching. Coral has an amazing ability to recover from bleaching as long as the conditions return to normal within a specific timeframe. The time frame that corals can survive in a warmer ocean is different depending on the species.

“Around Daydream Island we have some of the best fringing coral reef in the region and visitors are assured of a great snorkelling or diving experience.

“The colour and variety of marine life has to be seen to be believed.”

Mr Gaskell and other biologists on Daydream have been snorkelling the Whitsundays fringing reefs regularly to monitor the health of the corals.

Mr Gaskell said that long term concerns for the reef and environment are real however and that the entire community needs to be vigilant about negative influences in relation to the increased rate of global warming.

There’s no other island quite like Daydream, on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. With a fringing reef a mere flipper’s kick from the beach and a Living Reef on the island itself, it’s an incredible place to not only live and learn about one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, but to experience it first hand.

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