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.