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Australia | Great Barrier Reef losing ability to recover from disturbances, but game not over

Prior to the back-to-back bleaching events that hit the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017, the UNESCO World Heritage Site had suffered two other bouts of extensive bleaching in the past two decades, one in 1998 and another in 2002.

The damage done to the Great Barrier Reef by those bleaching events was worrying enough for scientists, and now new research finds that in the intervening years the reef system recovered at a much slower rate than it has in the past. According to a study published in the journal Science Advances this month, the Great Barrier Reef is losing its ability to bounce back from disturbances like coral bleaching, crown of thorns starfish outbreaks, and cyclones.


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