Signs Of Recovery 

Explosions of color on damaged reef ' gives us hope, ' Australian scientists say.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is spawning in an explosion of color, as the World Heritage-listed natural wonder recovers from life-threatening coral bleaching episodes.

Scientists recently recorded the coral fertilizing billions of offspring by casting sperm and eggs into the Pacific Ocean off the Queensland State coastal city of Cairns. The spawning event lasts for two or three days.

The network of 2,500 reefs covering 348,000 square kilometers, or 134,000 square miles, suffered significantly from coral bleaching caused by unusually warm ocean temperatures in 2016, 2017 and last year. The bleaching damaged two-thirds of the coral.

Gareth Phillips, a marine scientist with Reef Teach, a tourism and educational business, is studying the spawning to monitor the reef's health.

'' It is gratifying to see the reef give birth,'' Mr. Philips said ina statement. '' It's a strong demonstration that it's ecological functions are intact and working after being in a recovery phase for more than 18 months.''

'' The reef has gone through its own troubles, like we all have,'' he added, ''but it can still respond - and that gives us hope. I think we must all focus on the victories as we merge from the pandemic.'' { The Associated Press }.


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