Millions of animals died and millions more just lost their homes in the ocean forever! The situation is getting worse and worse every day!
While diving in Thailand in the year 2010, Mark Eakin, who is a scientist with the NOAA, saw some clown fish behaving in a strange way, and for a very concerning reason too. Clown fish live in sea anemones, jellyfish like polyps with toxic tentacles, mainly for some safety reasons. But the clown fish he saw stopped doing all of that. “Instead of darting into their anemone for safety, the clown fish were going to the nearby bleached corals, because something was very wrong with their anemones,” Eakin said. “They did mot consider that a safe home for them anymore”. Millions of animals lost their home in the ocean and for the most troubling reason!
The clown fish changed their behavior right after a mass coral bleaching event that happened in that area. Coral bleaching happens when the sea temperatures rise, and corals expel the algae living inside their tissues, which then turns the corals white!
This kind of thing is now happening all over the world, and now it has hit the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the largest coral reef system in the entire world. And this is really bad news for the millions of the sea animals who basically depend on the reef.
In 2016, 67% of the northern region of the Great Barrier Reef died. This year, more bleaching occurred, although scientists are still figuring out just how bad it really is. Unfortunately, some are fearing that the worst happened.
When coral reef systems die, animals lose their homes forever and possibly die too. Not just a few animals, but it is millions of them!
“You are losing countless different species, from small organisms and vertebrates to reefs too,” Eakin says. “And of course, the fish communities are being affected a lot. They are simply just gone”.