Following two straight years of coral bleaching, there is growing concern that Australia’s Great Barrier Reef may soon succumb to the effects of global warming. Considered to be one of Earth’s greatest living wonders and listed as a World Heritage Site, the Great Barrier Reef is a globally recognized symbol of biodiversity and the beauty of nature.
Changes in the temperature of the sea off the Australian coast and increasing acidification of the seawater have severely damaged the reef network, and the health and diversity of coral have been substantially decreased over wide areas.
To increase attention on the need to take steps to protect and rehabilitate the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy and the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection have launched a program offering funding for scientists who want to test new, commercially viable methods for protecting and restoring coral populations. Successful applicants will receive funding in order to test and develop their methods, with the opportunity to secure a government contract should the methods be effective.
While successful applicants are required to carry out their research and testing in Queensland, the program was open to applications from anywhere in the world. Although the Great Barrier Reef is Australian due to its geographic location, it is the responsibility of the entire world to collaborate on innovative ideas that could potentially save this natural wonder and other coral populations that are struggling due to a changing climate.
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