On Friday, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) confirmed another mass bleaching event on the reef, the sixth event of its kind and the fourth since 2016.
Bleaching has been observed at multiple reefs in all four management areas of the global marine biodiversity hotspot, despite the season’s La Niña conditions.
“Bleached coral is stressed but still alive,” noted the GBRMPA in a statement.
That means conditions over the next few weeks will be critical; if temperatures cool down before the corals become acutely bleached, many of them could recover. There is, however, a threshold beyond which a bleached coral cannot come back.