One of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites and the biggest coral reef ecosystem in the world, the Great Barrier Reef houses a diverse range of wildlife. But it has recently been battered by subsequent bleaching events in 2016 and 2017.
Researchers have recorded the number of fledgling corals that have sprung from the aftermath of the coral bleaching and they have grim news about their prospects.
Overall, there was a dramatic drop in recruits in 2018, with numbers dropping an average of 89 percent (the southernmost portion of the reef, which was not bleached much, actually had a bumper crop).
If the corals are given time and space to breathe and reproduce, then they might recover. However, another bleaching event might put the coral reef ecosystem in danger of being wiped out.
And as it stands, our oceans are getting warmer. Scientists cannot say that there won't be another bleaching event happening any time soon.
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)