Joanne Nova

A prize-winning science graduate in molecular biology. She has given keynotes about the medical revolution, gene technology and aging at conferences. She hosted a children’s TV series on Channel Nine, and has done over 200 radio interviews, many on the Australian ABC. She was formerly an associate lecturer in Science Communication at the ANU. She’s author of The Skeptics Handbook which has been translated into 15 languages.

Eighteen months ago, the coral on John Brewer Reef was dead, according to the Guardian, but Jennifer Marohasy, Peter Ridd, and Rowan Dean took the risk of going back to the same dead reef to make a short documentary on it and found the same coral, 80 kilometers offshore and it, and the whole area around it, is flourishing.

According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park authority, the area was surveyed in April 2022 and the damage was classed as “severe”. According to them, 60-90 per cent of the reef was bleached. It was so bad that when the Sydney Morning Herald wrote about “500 kilometers of severe bleaching” it was John Brewer Reef that they picked for the feature photo.

Just like the Guardian:

….The Guardian (Image Credit: JoNova)

Scientists, apparently, were dreading the damage to come (of the reef that recovered):

Image Credit: JoNova

If the John Brewer reef was sick, most of the Great Barrier Reef was bound to be sick too, said Graham Readfearn:

“This is one of the healthiest reefs off Townsville and one of the best reefs on the whole Great Barrier Reef. So for these corals to be stressed and damaged … well, it’s likely it’s the same at other reefs down here.”

The John Brewer Reef was so symbolic of man-made apocalypse one British artist was planning to install a 100 ton “coral” greenhouse out there, because corals need artistic playhouses.

Image Credit: JoNova

But here in the real world, the formerly bleached coral now is a normal ‘cafe latte’ brown color, showing it has recovered from the bleaching. The growing tips are always white, apparently, so it’s all good. Jennifer wrote all the details up on her blog.

The coral threw out the zooxanthellae last year, but this year it has new ones…

Image Credit: JoNova

The John Brewer reef, right now, is full of colorful fish and very alive corals.

Image Credit: JoNova

As Jennifer Marohasy says, it was a risk to return to the “The centre of the sixth mass coral bleaching.” The 15-minute video of the trip to John Brewer Reef is below.

When divers scan the Great Barrier Reef under the water, they find it’s been in record good health for the last two years.

Image Credit: JoNova

But some official agencies that diagnose the doomed reefs do it from a plane. Here’s an example of the same reef from 120 meters above sea level. For some reason nearly everything deeper than two meters is hard to see, and vertical walls of coral are invisible.

Image Credit: JoNova

The Australian government gave $1 billion dollars to save the reef in January 2022. Perhaps it worked? You’d think the Guardian might want to tell the world, but they don’t seem to want to give a healthy reef the same attention they gave to a momentarily bleached one.

It’s not an accident that  97 per cent of Australians don’t know the Great Barrier Reef is in record good health.

This article originally appeared at JoNova.

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