Thriving Coral Reef In Muddy Waters
August 4, 2012
"The Middle Reef, part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, is growing more quickly than reefs in other areas with lower levels of sediment stress, a new study has found. Rapid coral reef growth has been identified in environments with large amounts of sediment, conditions previously thought to be detrimental to reef growth.
The study, led by the University of Exeter with an international team of scientists, is published today (1 August 2012) in the journal Geology.
Middle Reef is located on the inner Great Barrier Reef shelf just 4 km off the mainland coast near Townsville, Australia. Middle Reef grows in water that is always ‘muddy’ unlike most reefs that grow in clear water. The sediment comes from seasonal river flood plumes and the mud churning up from the floor of the sea. Since European settlement, The Queensland coast has changed significantly. The sediment runoff has increased due to the clearing of natural vegetation for agricultural use. It is believed that the poor water quality, due to high levels of sediment, has a detrimental effect on marine biodiversity."
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