Heatwave Kills One-Third of the Great Barrier Reef

The collapse of coral reef populations will have significant implications for marine life, and the humans that rely on tropical reef ecosystems for fish for food.

Endangered Hawksbill sea turtles, which live off the Brazilian coast, mainly feed on sponges found on coral reefs.
Photo Credit: Rich Carey/Shutterstock

Enormous and unique, the iconic Great Barrier Reef is an ecosystem hosting to nearly 3,900 coral reefs. The vibrant creatures that make up the colonies sprout near the coast of Australia across a stretch of about 133,000 square miles—the largest such system in the world.