Why the Great Barrier Reef Is in Danger

Photo: ProDesign studio/Shutterstock

正如你可能已经知道的那样,伟大的障碍珊瑚礁陷入困境。大约50%的珊瑚礁的珊瑚封面已经丢失,并且普遍同意的估计是,除非采取了重大行动,否则所有人都可以到2050年。

时钟正在滴答,而且2016年和2017年前所未有的珊瑚漂白事件只展示如何岌岌可危 - 而紧急 - 情况是。

该thin silver lining is that, because the reef's plight is so dire, it's receiving a surge of attention in the form of research and rehab. The Australian national and Queensland state governments together spend about 200 million Australian dollars ($150 million) every year to protect the reef's health, and in April 2018,澳大利亚的环境部宣布将为珊瑚礁保存留出5亿澳元(3.78亿美元)据报道,据报道,最大的单一投资。虽然许多专家说这仍然是不够的,但努力正在进行中。

这是一个仔细的看法是让伟大的障碍珊瑚礁伟大的东西,为什么伟大的风险以及人们在为时已晚之前如何拯救这种自然奇迹:

为什么珊瑚礁太重要了

来自太空的大堡礁
来自太空的大堡礁的看法,由美国宇航局的街区卫星捕获。 (Photo: Jacques Descloitres/NASA/GSFC)

伟大的障碍礁被称为“很棒”,有充分的理由。最高级的是部分地指的是珊瑚礁的巨大尺寸:从太空中可以看出,伸展超过1,600英里(2,575公里),类似于从波士顿到迈阿密的距离,覆盖133,000平方英里(344,000平方公里)。

但这种大规模地区不仅仅是海洋,在这里和那里有一些珊瑚。它包括一种显着的栖息地和生活的多样性。根据世界野生动物基金:“珊瑚礁由3,000个单独的珊瑚礁系统,600个热带群岛和约300个珊瑚礁组成。这座复杂的栖息地迷宫为一群海洋植物和动物提供了庇护的庇护 - 来自古代海龟,礁鱼和134种鲨鱼和光线,到400种不同的辛苦和软珊瑚和血腥海藻。“

Of course, these sea creatures deserve to exist for their own sake, but their existence — and the health of the reef — benefits humans, too. The reef acts as nursery and sanctuary for a fishing industry that feeds hundreds of thousands of people, and tourists flock to the reef to experience its incredibly beauty — to the tune of 6 billion Australian dollars ($4.5 billion) a year. And that combined supports almost 70,000 Australian jobs.

对珊瑚礁有什么威胁?

鱼在伟大的障碍礁中穿过珊瑚
该coral of the Great Barrier Reef has struggled to survive assaults from climate change and coral bleaching. (照片:William West / Afp / Getty Images)

有一些行动被采取了许多前面来保护珊瑚礁。解决珊瑚抑制问题是昂贵的并且复杂,因为珊瑚礁的健康至少有四个主要威胁,并且所有人都必须处理才能帮助珊瑚。

Reef 2050长期可持续发展计划is the grand plan for protecting the Great Barrier Reef through 2050, and it's how the Australian government answered the UNESCO World Heritage Committee's concerns that would have otherwise put the reef on its list of “world heritage in danger," which would have been an embarrassment for Australia. UNESCO regularly assesses the conservation status of World Heritage sites included on its list. The Reef 2050 plan began in 2015, but some government experts say it is由于气候变化,已经无法进气影响。

什么是珊瑚漂白?

coral bleaching at Great Barrier Reef, Australia
High ocean temperatures have triggered major coral-bleaching events at the Great Barrier Reef in recent years. (照片:DarkyDoors / Shutterstock)

珊瑚漂白事件是珊瑚对环境压力的反应。漂白事件是珊瑚的可见SOS,表明某些事情发生得非常错误。

漂白不会直接杀死珊瑚,但它严重削弱了它们,通常后来导致死亡,因为它们变得更容易患病。珊瑚,正如您可能从科学课中记住的那样,是与某些光合藻类的共生关系中的动物,称为Zooxanthellae.。该coral provide the algae with a safe environment and compounds needed for photosynthesis, while the algae reciprocate with food, oxygen and waste removal (along with their vibrant colors).

This relationship can break down, however, due to environmental stress — namely high seawater temperatures, the risk of which are rising due to human-induced climate change. This thermal stress can force the coral to eject their zooxanthellae, which is initially helpful since heat can cause the algae to产生腐蚀性物质。If the water remains too hot for too long, however, corals can gradually starve as they turn white due to a lack of zooxanthellae (hence the name "bleaching").

在这种危险之上,珊瑚自己,其命运倾向于预先预见到更广泛的趋势,这里是对珊瑚礁生态系统的一些最大威胁:

气候变化和礁石

气候变化是对珊瑚礁的最大威胁,因为它会影响以下内容:

Ocean acidification:自1700年代以来,大约30%的人类泵入大气中的额外二氧化碳已被海洋吸收。这改变了海洋的化学,使它们更加酸性 - 一种称为海洋酸化的过程 - 这使得珊瑚(和许多其他海洋动物)更难以构建其基于钙的骨骼结构。

旋风:Climate change also favors the development of more powerful tropical cyclones, which can cause significant damage to shallow coral reefs. In addition, during cyclones or other strong storm events, more freshwater and sediments (which essentially smother corals) can make their way into the reef.

海平面和海水温度上升:气候变化引起的快速变化意味着海岸线植物和动物没有时间适应海平面或温度的变化。虽然海平面上升并落下了数千年,但气候变化意味着它发生得更快,因此生活无法快速调整。

移民:据此称,温暖的海洋温度导致大型障碍礁石队距离赤道远离赤道2019 research。然而,科学家认为,珊瑚礁不会“迁移”布里斯班的海岸,因为其他因素可能会在南方太远之前阻止它。

珊瑚礁2050计划中没有直接解决气候变化,其中一些关于珊瑚礁2050咨询委员会的专家呼吁是一个巨大的问题。考虑到珊瑚礁健康的严重程度,其中一些专家正在呼吁计划只是保持珊瑚礁的生态功能,称已经为时已晚,无法恢复其前荣耀。

影响珊瑚礁的局部影响

该re are things affecting the reef health that are easier for the Australian and Queensland governments to do something about, since they are issues that can be addressed regionally. None of these is as impactful as climate change, but they can help corals on the margins stay alive versus dying out.

过度捕捞

珊瑚和鱼的大障碍礁水下视图
伟大的障碍礁周围的保护区往往具有更丰富的生物多样性。 (照片:Ryan McMinds / Flickr)

当捕获更多鱼的鱼类而不是生态系统,可以随着时间的推移维持,这是过度捕捞。在巨大的障碍礁上,由于运动和商业捕鱼的某些大型的捕食者鱼类,如珊瑚鳟鱼和鲷鱼。当您在食物链顶部的紫外线时,它会导致略有变化。不太多样的珊瑚礁是一种较少的弹性珊瑚礁,影响珊瑚健康。

“Predatory fish are extremely important for maintaining a balanced ecosystem on the reef, yet predators such as coral trout, snapper and emperor fish remain the main target for both recreational and commercial fishers,” April Boaden, a Ph.D. student who studied fish populations at the珊瑚礁研究卓越卓越中心,在释放中说。在她的2015年纸上,Boaden看着允许捕鱼的地区与钓鱼被禁止(绿色区域)并发现显着差异。在允许商业和运动捕捞的地区,捕食者鱼的数量较低,多样性。

在那些“无钓鱼”区域的非法捕鱼正在上升。“人们故意违反法律,故意进入[绿色]区和捕鱼;商业和娱乐渔民,”伟大的障碍礁海洋公园权威(Gbrmpa),理查德Quincey告诉澳大利亚广播公司。“这是他们知道那里有更多的鱼类的原因之一。在受保护的封闭区域中的最小[鱼数]可以有两个或更多次,因此它成为一个有吸引力的主张。”

好消息是,管理捕鱼是保护珊瑚礁生态系统的方法之一,并加强了绿色区域钓鱼的巡逻和罚款。新的渔业管理计划仍在努力,许多商业捕捞行业反对。

船舶流量

沉乐1,大堡礁
Zhen Neng 1,Zhen Neng 1的燃料油泄漏,这是一个中国注册的散装煤炭载体,2010年4月在大堡礁海洋公园搁浅。 (照片:海事安全昆士兰州/盖蒂图片)

装满材料的大型船舶,澳大利亚的采掘行业 - 经常送到中国 - 如果在2010年遇到事故,那么在2010年遇到灾难,也会威胁到珊瑚礁。那一年,一艘叫沉Neng 1 Ran搁浅的中国船在礁石上,将近2英里的疤痕凝成了礁石,将吨粪燃料油倾倒在脆弱的珊瑚上。如果这不够糟糕,清理需要超过六年的是对中国公司的法律斗争,导致损害通过法院的损害。政府没有可用于恢复珊瑚礁的资金,并在后来收集,因为它只扣除了被漏油和其他污染物造成的损坏,而不是崩溃。

“With the number of ships travelling through the reef only increasing, especially if the port of Abbot Point is expanded to ship coal from the proposed Carmichael mine straight through the reef, the next Shen Neng disaster is not a question of ‘if’ but a question of ‘when’," Russell Reichelt, the chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,告诉守护者

沿海污染

Probably the most work done to protect the reef has been in the area of reducing runoff of toxic chemicals and particulate matter, which smothers and sickens the coral on the reef — much of it from the agricultural areas adjacent to the Queensland coast. By working to restore stream- and river-side vegetation (which keeps as much sediment from running into rivers and out into the sea), monitoring aquaculture operations, and minimizing development near the coast, some of these impacts have been reduced by 10 or 15 percent over just a few years.

但它可能不重要。在最近的有限公司ral-bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, "reefs in muddy water were just as fried as those in pristine water," Terry P. Hughes, the director of a center for coral reef studies at James Cook University,告诉纽约时报。“就你在本地可以做些什么来防止漂白 - 这不是一个好消息 - 这根本不是很多。你必须直接解决气候变化。”

Crown-of-thorns starfish

crown-of-thorns starfish
荆棘冠的海星已成为对大堡礁生态系统的重大威胁。 (照片:Shutterstock)

在过去的三十年中,40%的珊瑚丧失是由于荆棘冠状海星(婴儿床),饮食物种,可以成为平衡礁生态系统的一部分。不幸的是,婴儿床人口可能会突然爆发爆发 - 近几十年来,这些爆发似乎正在增长。这可能是由于农业径流的过量氮,这可以提高饲料幼虫的浮游生物。

“从农场的氮气飘逸导致礁石中的藻类盛开”解释世界野生动物基金。“这种藻类是海星幼虫的主要食物来源,产生枯萎的人口爆炸。目前爆发已经建造五年,将进一步损害珊瑚礁的珊瑚系。”

Arr附近的农业领域,北昆士兰,澳大利亚
农业领域在北昆士兰,澳大利亚横跨景观。 (Photo: Aerometrex/Shutterstock)

将人们支付删除海星并杀死他们的计划是为了应对这些海星的爆发。一种机器人甚至开发出来to kill the starfish more efficiently. However,调查由澳大利亚国家审计署于2016年11月结束,政府无法提供任何证据表明审计计划工作或聪明地使用金钱。

事实上,“这可能会导致更加慢性和持续的海星爆发的发展,”研究咨询refcare国际的领先的研究员和负责人Udo Engelhardt告诉守护者。

伟大的障碍礁的未来

围拢绿色的海岛的珊瑚礁,在凯恩斯,北昆士兰,澳大利亚附近。
围绕绿色海岛的珊瑚礁,在凯恩斯,北昆士兰,澳大利亚附近。 (Photo: AustralianCamera/Shutterstock)

伟大的障碍礁仍然是一个大问题。许多组织努力最大限度地减少广泛的危险,好消息是至少一些努力似乎正在工作。

2018年9月,旅游和活动昆士兰宣布了“积极更新”,伟大的障碍珊瑚礁的一些受影响的地区显示出“改善的重大迹象”据报道彭博

"When a reef is reported as 'bleached' in the media, that often leaves out a critical detail on how severe that bleaching is, at what depth the bleaching has occurred and if it’s going to cause permanent damage to the coral at that site," said Sheriden Morris, The Reef and Rainforest Research Center managing director, in a statement to Bloomberg, and the reef "has significant capacity to recover from health impacts like bleaching events."

Morris did note that the recovery is contingent on environmental conditions and another major bleaching event could still occur if ocean temperatures continue to rise.

很明显,我们需要迅速采取行动,以防止这种自然奇观褪色。对于任何凝视着那个绿松石水和丰富的野生动物的人,即使只是在图片中,毫无疑问这个地方值得为之奋斗。