Publication Date March 31, 2016 | Grist

The Great Barrier Reef’s no good, very bad year will test how fast it can adapt

Photo: XL Catlin Seaview Survey
Photo: XL Catlin Seaview Survey

Terry Hughes, a coral researcher at James Cook University, convened a task force that carried out an aerial study to figure out just how many reefs are still healthy in the northern section of the 1,400-mile-long Great Barrier Reef. Hughes and company found that out of 520 reefs surveyed, 95 percent were experiencing “severe” bleaching. In fact, Hughes could identify only four reefs that showed no signs of bleaching.

Allow me to do some easy, but alarming math: That means less than 1 percent of the reefs surveyed in the world’s most famous coral reef are as healthy as they should be