Thoughtful Thursdays: Conserving Australia's Natural Wonders

Published January 24, 2013

In honor of our upcoming Australia Day celebration, today's Thoughtful Thursday highlights the issues facing Australia's fragile marine ecosystems.  

"Grief for the Reef" 

Possibly the most iconic coral reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef, is home to close to 6,000 different species of marine life. Since becoming a protected marine park in 1975, researchers have closely monitored the effects pollution, overfishing and ocean acidification have on the overall health of the reef and its inhabitants.

Thanks to "Finding Nemo" the Great Barrier Reef and species like the percula clownfish have become loved by many!

Thanks to "Finding Nemo" the Great Barrier Reef and
species like the clownfish have become treasured
icons for coral reef ecosystems!

Although it has been historically well-protected (due in part to its global popularity), the reef has still been devastated by these effects. In the last 27 years, the Great Barrier Reef has lost 50 percent of its coral.

Without immediate action to curb pollution and activities that contribute to climate change, the reef's future is grim.

Ocean acidification has caused coral bleaching on parts of the reef. Photo via CS Monitor

Ocean acidification has caused coral bleaching on parts of the reef. Photo via CS Monitor

Here's what you can do to help save our coral reefs worldwide: 

  • Use less water. The less water you use, the less runoff and waste will pollute our oceans.
  • Walk, bike or ride the bus. Fossil fuel emissions from cars and industry raise lead to ocean warming which causes mass-bleaching of corals and can lead to widespread destruction of reefs.
  • Practice safe and responsible diving and snorkeling. Do not touch the reef or anchor your boat on the reef. Contact with the coral will damage the delicate coral animals, and anchoring on the reef can kill it, so look for sandy bottom or use moorings if available.
  • Learn more about National Aquarium's conservation initiatives to save coral reefs.
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