The Great Barrier Reef off Australia is being bleached, almost beyond recovery. This happens when water temperatures rise, causing the coral to expel the algae that live in them as a stress response. Pollution and poor water quality also contribute to the Reef’s potential demise. The result is death over a period of time.
So what, you say? Who needs it? We do! Not only does it provide shelter and protection for a a greater variety of marine organisms than any other place, it helps recycle nutrients, assists in nitrogen and carbon fixing, and protects coastlines. Perhaps more importantly, it forecasts global warming as much as the melting of the polar ice cap.
The coral can recover if temperatures go back down. But what is the likelihood of that happening? You tell me.