The Great Barrier Reef Problem

Recently this year, scientist informed the public that the Great Barrier Reef is in danger of completely dying out if some major changes aren’t implemented soon. The  biggest threat is the bleaching of the reef due to chemical pollutants.


When this issue first made itself apparent, scientist came up with the null hypothesis that the pollutants would have no effect on the health of the reef, with the alternative hypothesis being that the pollutants would in fact have an effect on the reef’s health. Although there a some skeptics of the reef’s actual health, scientists have been able to reject the null hypothesis, meaning that the reef is in danger.

To ensure that the reef doesn’t completely die off, scientists from NASA and even Penn State have begun to research the problem and look into possible counter-measures to combat the issue.  Researchers from NASA have begun a 3 year observational study and ecological survey in Australia as the first step in preparing the reef. Using new state of the art technology, NASA researchers are taking aerial surveys of the reef as well as surveys of 6 different areas of the reef to compare the health in the different areas as well as the conditions of their surroundings. In order to carry out these tests, scientists are using airborne imaging spectrometers and 6 separate teams of scientists that are designated to the 6 sections of the reef that are being observed.


Students of Penn State have also been doing research of reefs, specifically the reefs located in the Caribbean. The main objective of their research is looking at the genome of each reef and   how they are able to survive multiple environmental catastrophes. This research is very important for the Great Barrier Reef because, although it isn’t a test of the Great Barrier Reef’s genome, if they are able to find what helps the Caribbean reefs, it could help in the efforts to save the great Barrier reef.

We can be almost certain that the pollutants in the water cause the dying off of the reef. Although we can never rule out chance, its highly unlikely that the reef began to die off at such a rate that just-so-happens to match up with increase of pollutants found in the surrounding ocean. It’s also highly unlikely that reverse causation is to blame in this situation, becasue if that was the case, the dying of the reef would be the cause of humans polluting the water which doesn’t make sense.

In conclusion, the possibility that the Great Barrier Reef dies off if very real; however, with the efforts of scientists and if they correctly carry out the scientific process, we might be able to save the reef after-all.

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5 thoughts on “The Great Barrier Reef Problem

  1. Maximilian Arthur Kesner

    Honestly, this post was very well done. You incorporated lecture material in the blog and even used research from the students of Penn State. The only things I noticed was that you misspelled “because,” which obviously isn’t a big deal, and that your link at the bottom of the post does not work. I don’t have any other tips that could help you get a better grade; I thought your post was extremely well done. It is sad to hear that the reef could possibly die in the near future. Hopefully they can save the reef. This article explains one of the ways in which the coral is dying. Great post.

  2. Anna Strahle

    Great post! I am very interested in the safety of the ocean, because humans need to alter their daily habits if we want to keep it the way it is now. I recently did a speech in my CAS 100 class about dead zones in the ocean. Dead zones are where parts of the ocean are dying because there is too much nitrogen in the water. Naturally, there is some nitrogen in the water, but a lot of fertilizer is starting to run-off from farms into the oceans causing there to be an over-abundance of nitrogen. Algae is an organism that thrives off of nitrogen, so when there is a large amount of it, the algae begins to overpopulate that area of the ocean. Eventually, the algae starts to decompose and uses all the oxygen, preventing any other living organism nearby from being able to breathe. This problem is evident in the United States because the second largest dead zone is here in the Gulf of Mexico, measuring to be 6,700 square miles (a little larger than the state of Connecticut).

  3. Daniele Patrice Loney

    I’m so happy that you addressed this problem. It is so easy to blog about things that interest us that may not be of extreme importance, but the Great Barrier Reef and its declining health is one of the most relevant things that could possibly be discussed, in my opinion. Not only is it a beautiful piece of nature, but it is also an important staple to ocean research and observations. Granted, there are coral reefs elsewhere, but it is common knowledge that the Great Barrier Reef is unique in its grandeur. The following link discusses biodiversity and how much exists within reefs If we lost the Great Barrier Reef, we would be losing knowledge, life, and and beauty.

    I think it is extremely important that everyone understands how bad losing this reef would be and how it would DEFINITELY affect the potential pool of knowledge that scientists gain from the ocean in the future. Great blog post!

  4. Julia R Martini

    I really wanted to write a post on the great barrier reef but didn’t know how to relate it to science. You did a nice job doing so! I’ve always heard of the problem that the reefs are dying due to pollution but never looked into it enough. This post did a nice job of summarizing what the problem is. The first thing that grabbed my eye was the first picture of the reef. Just the difference in color is worrisome so I can only imagine what is actually happening inside of it. Whenever I google the great barrier reef there is always recent new articles on it. That’s how prevalent this problem really is. The latest news article on the reef is here… This was good news about the reefs so you should read it! It’ll create some piece of mind.

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