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Baby corals are declining in the Great Barrier Reef

The numbers of baby corals settling in the Great Barrier Reef has reduced by almost 90% to historically low levels, according to Australian research published in Nature.

After unprecedented bleaching events caused by climate change, coral reproduction, has shown an unprecedented decline. Coral reproduce by spawning, releasing millions of bursts of sperm and eggs onto the ocean surface. The fertilised eggs and larvae move about on the ocean currents until they settle in new areas to create new coral colonies.

Coral reproduction is essential for repair of the reef after the major death of existing coral colonies to due bleaching events; the fact that fewer colonies are repopulating the reef exposes another vulnerability in the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem.