Underwater Snowstorm - The beginnings of life on the reef
Underwater Snowstorm - The beginnings of life on the reef

Coral spawning is a critical time of year for conservation scientists. In 2016 and 2017, the Great Barrier Reef suffered massive coral bleaching events that damaged two thirds of the reef. Coral bleaching occurs when pollutants or abnormally warm water prompt coral to expel the algae that live symbiotically in their tissues, and which provide the polyps food through photosynthesis. When conditions don't improve, the algae don't return, and the corals eventually starve to death.

One study published by the United Nations this summer predicted all the world's corals could die off in 30 years if nothing is done to curb globally warming waters. This could have far-reaching impacts, because corals aggregate to become some of the world's largest living organisms, and they provide critical habitat to a host of marine life, from fish to invertebrates.

Words by Sarah Gibbens

i8793_171109_01664.jpg
i8793_171108_00924.jpg
i8793_171111_05144.jpg
i8793_171109_02095.jpg
i8793_171107_00186-2.jpg
i8793_171109_02143.jpg
i8793_171108_00652.jpg
i8793_171110_04255.jpg
i8793_171109_02681.jpg
Underwater Snowstorm - The beginnings of life on the reef
i8793_171109_01664.jpg
i8793_171108_00924.jpg
i8793_171111_05144.jpg
i8793_171109_02095.jpg
i8793_171107_00186-2.jpg
i8793_171109_02143.jpg
i8793_171108_00652.jpg
i8793_171110_04255.jpg
i8793_171109_02681.jpg
Underwater Snowstorm - The beginnings of life on the reef

Coral spawning is a critical time of year for conservation scientists. In 2016 and 2017, the Great Barrier Reef suffered massive coral bleaching events that damaged two thirds of the reef. Coral bleaching occurs when pollutants or abnormally warm water prompt coral to expel the algae that live symbiotically in their tissues, and which provide the polyps food through photosynthesis. When conditions don't improve, the algae don't return, and the corals eventually starve to death.

One study published by the United Nations this summer predicted all the world's corals could die off in 30 years if nothing is done to curb globally warming waters. This could have far-reaching impacts, because corals aggregate to become some of the world's largest living organisms, and they provide critical habitat to a host of marine life, from fish to invertebrates.

Words by Sarah Gibbens

show thumbnails