Heron Island, Australia

Heron Island, Australia

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Credit: GEOEYE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Heron Island, satellite image. North is at top. The 800-metre-long island (upper left) is on the western edge of Heron Reef (light blue), a large fringing coral reef that is in the southern part of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Heron Reef is an area of great marine biodiversity, with hundreds of fish and coral species. This image was used in a study on coral bleaching (see image E690/057). Coral bleaching occurs when an increase in sea temperature causes corals to expel their algae and turn a lighter, white colour. Severe bleaching can kill coral. Major coral bleaching took place on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998 and 2002. Image obtained by the Ikonos satellite and published in 2001.

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Keywords: 2001, 21st century, australia, australian, bleached, climate change, climatological, climatology, coastal, coral, coral bleaching, coral death, coral reef, corals, damage, dying, ecology, ecosystem, environment, fringing coral reef, from space, geographical, geography, global warming, great barrier reef, heron island, heron reef, ikonos, island, marine, marine biology, oceanography, pacific ocean, satellite, satellite image, sea, sea temperature, temperatures

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