Record coral cover on parts of Great Barrier Reef at risk from global heating, scientists warn

Fast-growing species of branching and plate-like corals push cover up but are also the preferred prey for crown-of-thorns starfish

Marine scientists monitoring the Great Barrier Reef say they have recorded the highest levels of coral cover in 36 years in the north and central areas, but warned any recovery could be quickly overturned by global heating.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science’s annual long-term monitoring report says the fast-growing corals that have driven coral cover upwards are also those most at risk from marine heatwaves, storms and the voracious crown-of-thorns (COTS) starfish.

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