Decline of more than 500 species of marine life on Australian reefs ‘the tip of the
More than 500 common species of fish, seaweed, coral and invertebrates that live on reefs around Australia have declined in the past decade, a study has found, as experts warn “not all is well in the ocean”.
Global heating was likely the main driver of the falls, with marine heatwaves and a rise in ocean temperatures hitting species that live on rocky and coral reefs.
The study, published in the journal Nature, monitored 1,057 species and found 57% of them had declined, and almost 300 were declining at a rate that could qualify them as threatened species.
About 28% of the species analysed had suffered drops of 30% or more in just a decade, with species that live in cooler waters particularly hard-hit.
Prof Graham Edgar, a marine ecologist at the University of Tasmania and the study’s lead author, said the declines were most marked in the rocky kelp-dominated reefs in Australia’s cooler southern waters, known collectively as the Great Southern Reef.
“These declines are happening out of sight and with very little public attention,” he said.
Edgar said there were many more…