Colour returns as recovering coral-bleached Great Barrier Reef ‘gives birth’

The Great Barrier Reef is erupting with colour again as the natural wonder recovers from recent life-threatening coal bleaching.

About two-thirds of the coral in the reef off the coast of Australia has been affected by bleaching caused by unusually high ocean temperatures in 2016, 2017 and 2020.

However, scientists on Tuesday night recorded the corals fertilising billions of offspring by casting sperm and eggs into the Pacific Ocean off the Queensland coast – an event that typically lasts two or three days.

Gareth Phillips, a marine scientist with Reef Teach, a tourism and educational business, is studying the spawning as part of a project to monitor the reef’s health.

The corals have fertilised billions of offspring by casting sperm and eggs into the Pacific Ocean off the Queensland state coastal city of Cairns

The Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage-listed site

“The reef has gone through its own troubles like we all have, but it can still respond – and that gives us hope,” he said.


“It is gratifying to see the reef give birth.

“It’s a strong demonstration that its ecological functions are intact and working after being in a recovery phase for more than 18 months.”

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He added: “I think we must all focus on the victories as we emerge from the pandemic.”

The World Heritage-listed site is made up of a network of 2,500 reefs, covering 348,000 sq km (134,000 sq miles).

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