Reef health

Fact or fiction: coral bleaching 101

Do you know what is fact or fiction?

As Australia’s lead management agency for the Reef, we monitor Reef conditions very closely throughout the year. From May to November each year, we issue regular Reef health reports. Over summer, we issue weekly public reports on the conditions of the Reef.

These updates are based on forecasts, water temperature heat mapping, in-water surveys, citizen science and aerial surveys. The current updates are available below and past Reef health updates are also available.

In addition to our regular updates, we’ve released:

Reef health updates

September 2021

Temperature and rainfall

As of the end of September, sea surface temperatures were generally average to slightly above average throughout the Marine Park.

Northern Australia’s wet season began on 1 October 2021.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting warmer and wetter than average air temperatures between November and January.

Sea surface temperatures are likely to be above average throughout the Marine Park in November.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicates the Marine Park is currently under no stress in terms of coral bleaching and that is likely to remain to least mid-November.

For the Eastern Australian region, there is a 66 per cent chance this region will receive an above average number of cyclones this season.

Reef health

Together, the Australian Institute of Marine Science Long-term Monitoring Program and Marine Monitoring Program are developing an updated Reef Monitoring web-based reporting platform. It provides easier access to more up-to-date information on reef health on the Great Barrier Reef.

Reef management

The most crown-of-thorns starfish dashboard contains up-to-date information on control efforts.

In September, the control program found starfish feeding scars at reefs in the Cairns to Cooktown area and ongoing starfish activity in the inner and outer Mackay to Capricorn regions. Culling took place in a number of locations throughout the Marine Park.