Rare festival on Great Barrier Reef results in re-birth of reef

The Great Barrier Reef has been reborn after a rare spawning event resulted in a mass a an incredible new life emerging from the water.

An estimated 200 million organisms — including starfish, crustaceans, sponges and sharks — were seen spawning at the time of the event at the Great Barrier Reef’s “Wizard of Oz” at Lizard Island.

Hundreds were seen cascading from the water’s surface as they reacted to a lighted lantern sent into the water.

Scientists with the Australia Institute looked at video captured at the time and noticed that the ecosystem completely changed overnight.

“In the very short time that the lantern was in the water there was a massive amount of life develop and that transformation happened instantaneously,” Dr. Giles Hall, an expert in marine invertebrates at Australia Institute said.

“It was like magic. You could see whole families of organisms all coming to the ocean surface to reproduce,” he said.

Over 15 years the average number of spawning animals on this reef was around 50,000, but on May 3 it jumped to about 4 million.

Andrew Pyle from Australia Institute said it was a “record-setting” event.

“Now we know that populations of an enormous number of insects, and fish are operating in a highly adapted and efficient manner, able to defy such immense natural pressures,” he said.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority released a statement saying that apart from the celebration of life, there was also concerns about the damage caused to the marine life on the Reef by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“Further positive signs suggest that the Great Barrier Reef is holding up well to climate change pressures but also raises the possibility that some species of corals could recover under current emissions reduction targets,” it said.

But for now, scientists have rejoiced in the glimpse of “magical” life emerging from the reef.

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