Why Deny the Beautiful Coral Reefs Fringing Stone Island?

Reposted from Jennifer Marohasy’s blog

Why Deny the Beautiful Coral Reefs Fringing Stone Island?

November 21, 2019 By jennifer

We live in an era when it is politically incorrect to say the Great Barrier Reef is doing fine, except if it’s in a tourist brochure. The issue has nothing to do with the actual state of corals, but something else altogether.

Given that the Great Barrier Reef is one ecosystem comprising nearly 3000 individual reefs stretching for 2000 kilometres, damaged areas can always be found somewhere. And a coral reef that is mature and spectacular today may be smashed by a cyclone tomorrow – although neither the intensity nor frequency of cyclones is increasing at the Great Barrier Reef, despite climate change. Another reason that coral dies is because of sea-level fall that can leave some corals at some inshore reefs above water on the lowest tides. These can be exceptionally low tides during El Niño events that occur regularly along the east coast of Australia.

A study published by Reef Check Australia, undertaken between 2001 to 2014 – where citizen scientists followed an agreed methodology at 77 sites on 22 reefs encompassing some of the Great Barrier Reef’s most popular dive sites – concluded that 43 sites showed no net change in hard coral cover, 23 sites showed an increase by more than 10 per cent (10–41 per cent, net change), and 17 sites showed a decrease by more than 10 per cent (10–63 per cent, net change).

Studies like this, which suggest there is no crisis but that there can be change, are mostly ignored by the mainstream media. However, if you mention such information and criticise university academics at the same time, you risk being attacked in the mainstream media. Or in academic Dr Peter Ridd’s case, you could be sacked by your university.

After a career of 30 years working as an academic at James Cook University, Dr Ridd was sacked essentially for repeatedly stating that there is no ecological crisis at the Great Barrier Reef, but rather there is a crisis in the quality of scientific research undertaken and reported by our universities. It all began when he sent photographs to News Ltd journalist Peter Michael showing healthy corals at Bramston Reef, near Stone Island, off Bowen in north Queensland.

More recently, I personally have been ‘savaged’ – and in the process incorrectly labelled right wing and incorrectly accused of being in the pay of Gina Rinehart – by Graham Readfearn in an article published in The Guardian. This was because I supported Dr Ridd by showing in some detail a healthy coral reef fringing the north-facing bay at Stone Island in my first film, Beige Reef.

According to the nonsense article by Mr Readfearn, quoting academic Dr Tara Clark, I should not draw conclusions about the state of corals at Stone Island from just the 25 or so hectares (250,000 square metres) of near 100 per cent healthy hard coral cover filmed at Beige Reef on 27 August 2019. Beige Reef fringes the north-facing bay at Stone Island.

This is hypocritical – to say the least – given Dr Clark has a paper published by Nature claiming the coral reefs at Stone Island are mostly all dead. She based this conclusion on just two 20-metre long transects that avoided the live section of healthy corals seaward of the reef crest.

I will refer to this reef as Pink Plate Reef – given the pink plate corals that I saw there when I went snorkelling on 25 August 2019.

Acropora photographed by Jennifer Marohasy just beyond where Tara Clark and colleagues ran their transects. This reef, around the headland from Beige Reef, will feature in my second short documentary.
 Acropora photographed by Jennifer Marohasy just beyond where Tara Clark and colleagues ran their transects. This reef, around the headland from Beige Reef, will feature in my second short documentary

Dr Clark – the senior author on the research report, which also includes eight other mostly high-profile scientists – is quoted in The Guardian claiming I have misrepresented her Great Barrier Reef study. In particular, she states,

We never claimed that there were no Acropora corals present in 2012.”

Yet this is really the only conclusion that can be drawn from the information presented in her report, which states in different sections the following:

Using a combination of anecdotal, ecological and geochemical techniques, the results of this study provide a robust understanding of coral community change for Bramston Reef and Stone Island.”

At Stone Island, the reef crest was similar to that observed in 1994 with a substrate almost completely devoid of living corals.”

For Stone Island, the limited evidence of coral growth since the early 19th Century suggests that recovery is severely lagging.”

… by 1994 the reef was covered in a mixture of coral rubble and algae with no living Acropora and very few massive coral colonies present …”

Clark and colleagues recorded the corals along two transects, which they explain included a section of the reef now stranded above the mean low spring sea level. The sections they studied are some metres away from healthy corals – Porites and Acropora species, including pink plate corals that I snorkelled over on 25 August 2019.

Fringing inshore reefs often show distinct zonation, with live and healthy corals growing along the seaward edge. At Pink Plate Reef, the reef edge extends for some 2 kilometres and is about 20 metres wide in parts, while much narrower in other sections.

This picture was taken with my drone, Skido, looking south east towards the edge of Pink Plate Reef
on 26th August 2019.

The more inshore section of such fringing inshore reefs, sometime referred to as ‘the lagoon’ between the beach and the reef edge, is usually muddy. This mud has a terrestrial origin. From the lagoon towards the seaward edge there may be an elevated section, which is often referred to as the reef crest.

It is uncontroversial in the technical scientific literature that there has been sea-level fall of about 1.5 metres at the Great Barrier Reef since a period known as the Holocene High Stand thousands of years ago.

It is also uncontroversial that sea levels fall with the El Niño events that occur regularly along the east coast of Australia most recently during the summer of 2015–2016.

As a consequence, the reef crest at many such inshore fringing reefs may end up above the height of mean low spring sea level. This is too high for healthy coral growth; because of sea-level fall, corals in this section of these reefs are often referred to as ‘stranded’ and will be dead.

Dr Clark and colleagues clearly state that they began their transects at Stone Island at the reef crest, which they also acknowledge is at ‘the upper limit of open water coral growth’. It could reasonably be concluded that Dr Clark’s study set out to sample the section of this reef that could be referred to as stranded.

Our society places enormous trust in scientists. It is as though they are the custodians of all truth.

Yet, as recently reported in another article in The Guardian by Sylvia McLain on 17 September, entitled ‘Not breaking news: many scientific studies are ultimately proved wrong!’, most scientific studies are wrong because scientists are interested in funding their research and their careers rather than the truth.

So, while another The Guardian journalist, Graham Readfearn, may look to scientists like Dr Clark and colleagues to know the truth about the Great Barrier Reef, reef scientists may be inclined to report what is best for their career in the longer term. This is increasingly likely to be the case, given the recent sacking of Dr Ridd for daring to speak against the consensus.

This could also to be the case for film makers. The Guardian has reported my honest attempts at showing how beautiful and healthy one of the fringing coral reefs at Stone Island is – including through spectacular wide angle underwater cinematography – the headline:

Scientists say rightwing think tank misrepresented her Great Barrier Reef study”.

This was the headline in The Guardian on Tuesday, accompanying the first review of my first film – Beige Reef. Many of the comments at YouTube now uncritically link to this misinformation.

It is not easy telling the truth when it comes to the state of corals at the Great Barrier Reef.

In my film Beige Reef, I show such a diversity of beautiful hard corals including species of Acropora and Turbinaria under dappled light at Beige Reef, which is a true coral garden fringing the north facing bay at Stone Island.

Meanwhile, Tara Clark and colleagues – lauded by journalists such as Graham Readfearn – write in their study published by Nature: ‘Only nine dead corals were found along transects 1 and 2, and that these corals were covered in mud and algae.’

Such a statement is perhaps politically smart, because it plays to the current zeitgeist that suggests humankind is having a terrible impact – destroying the planet everywhere, including at the Great Barrier Reef. So, the beautiful reefs that do fringe Stone Island – not just Beige Reef in the north facing bay, but also the reef along the south western edge, the reef that I’ve name Pink Plate – must be denied.

It seems an absolute tragedy to me that the beauty and resilience of these healthy coral reefs is not acknowledged. Further, the idea that the Great Barrier Reef is in peril creates tremendous anxiety throughout our community, particularly for the younger generation.

In another part of the same report, Dr Clark and colleagues state that coral cover was 0.09 per cent at Stone Island. This is not consistent with their ‘benthic survey’ only finding nine dead corals, and is certainly a lot less than the near 100 per cent coverage that I found at Beige Reef just around the corner. It is also a lot less than would have been found if their transects had been placed in that section of Pink Plate Reef with living corals – the section of reef at the seaward edge that extended for perhaps 2 kilometres.


Pink Plate Reef will be the focus of my next short film.

My travel to Stone Island and the film were funded by the B. Macfie Family Foundation through the Institute of Public Affairs.

I snapped the picture of the sailing boat with Gloucester passage in the background, as featured at the top of this blog post, from Pink Plate Reef in the early afternoon on 25th August 2019.

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November 20, 2019 10:24 pm

Thank you for stating the truth!

Bryan A
Reply to  Kevin Roeder
November 21, 2019 12:31 pm

Now diving where there IS Coral to prove there IS Coral isn’t allowable in proper Climate Scientific circles /sarc

Roger Knights
November 20, 2019 10:46 pm

It would aid understanding if a map or sketch were created and posted showing the two transects and labeling the areas described in the write-up here.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Roger Knights
November 22, 2019 7:45 am


Reply to  Roger Knights
November 22, 2019 10:58 am

That’d just give the luddite green-or-die extremists a map of where to pour more toxin.

Or do you think they haven’t already done this repeatedly?

Joel O'Bryan
November 20, 2019 10:47 pm

Use technology against these charlatans.

One would not have to be a reef scientist to use a high performance 4K video drone with optical zoom capabilities and small boat to video thousands of sq km of the GBR to document its state. And then post that video on YouTube.

At ~10 km/day, and 90 days = 900 km of GBR a season. And within 3 seasons, most of the GBR could be documented from 100 meters altitude at 4K videpo resolution and archived with some overlapping redundancy. Then when the charlatans at JCU or elsewhere put up some nonsense article about GBR demise in some small section, the recent footage of the larger area around it would be brought up and referenced to rebut it.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 21, 2019 4:26 am

It’s hard to get people to understand…that when an old reef is at it’s peak….and the GBR is a perfect example….the vast majority of “change” will be less and then recovery

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 21, 2019 7:01 am

Fight the lying “junk science” claims with questionable ”junk science” claims …… against those charlatans.

Place ads/videos in all travel/tourist media stating that …. “due to the cited scientific claims of the mass deaths and disease ridden state of the coral of the entirety of the Great Barrier Reef it is highly recommended that all visitors, tourists, etc. stay far, far away from the Great Barrier Reef and/or its waters least they become afflicted with a serious, untreatable disease that might result in a dastardly sickness, a crippling of their body and/or their death.

Then ya set back and let the Australian government and/or Australian Visitors Bureau …… fight it out with the colleges and universities.

November 20, 2019 11:26 pm

Jennifer & team have asked the John Cook University to nominate specific co-ordinates of where they have claimed coral reefs are dead along the 2,000 kilometres of the Great Barrier Reef.

It will be interesting to see if they provide these details, and even more interesting if Jennifer & team can video, photograph and drone over these same areas.

Reply to  Mr.
November 21, 2019 9:03 am

James Cook University as well 😕

Reply to  Mr.
November 25, 2019 5:34 pm

They should fly in David Attenborough for the onsite media presentation

Eugene Lynx
November 20, 2019 11:28 pm

The Guardian has jumped the shark into absurdity by its stated claims:

“We believe that the escalating climate crisis is the defining issue of our lifetimes and that the planet is in the grip of a climate emergency…
“The Guardian will give the climate crisis the attention it demands
Katharine Viner
“The climate crisis is the defining issue of our lifetimes, and informs all our journalism
John Mulholland
Editor, Guardian US
“Only a properly informed debate can help us avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis
Lenore Taylor
Editor, Guardian Australia
We will report on how environmental collapse is already affecting people around the world, including during natural disasters and extreme weather events…
Blah, blah, blah.

Because you don’t believe that Jennifer, they must attack you. Just like Jihadis attack infidels, meaning everyone else.

It has nothing to do with facts, to them.

Stephen W
Reply to  Eugene Lynx
November 21, 2019 12:25 am

They believe the GBR is the canary in the coal mine.
They need it to die to prove that humans have made an impact.

Unfortunately for them, the GBR will persist long after we’re gone.

Reply to  Stephen W
November 21, 2019 5:43 am

That being the case, I would suggest the authorities keep a close eye on the activists to make sure none of them take casks of chemicals to the reef to assure their preferred outcome, particularly if temperatures don’t cooperate.

Reply to  Eugene Lynx
November 21, 2019 12:32 am

The Grauniad has a perfect track record of backing the wrong horse, every single time.

Reply to  Eugene Lynx
November 21, 2019 1:36 am

The Guardian , once one of the best UK broadsheets, is now a joke. It is an online campaign platform not a newspaper.

So, while another The Guardian journalist, Graham Readfearn, may look to scientists like Dr Clark and colleagues to know the truth about the Great Barrier Reef

No, The Guardian are NOT interested in “the truth” they are looking for fodder to push their brainless climate rants. Their revenue stream comes from subscribers who volunteer payments so that the “poor” around the world can benefit from their “unbiased journalism”. ie they pay to have a platform rant about climate BS, in the hope that this will drive us SAVE THE PLANET.

Corrupt scientists, like Dr Tara Clark, who publish fake science provide the justification for corrupt journalists like Readfearn to print false claims and whip up hysteria about GBR and and constant stream of BS about climate.

That is why the world has lost faith, both in MSM and the scientists who we used to naively accord so much trust.

Komrade Kuna
Reply to  Eugene Lynx
November 21, 2019 1:58 am

Graham Readfearn is a climate jihadi of the first order and The Grauniad is the climate jihadi msm rag of choice.

Bryan A
Reply to  Komrade Kuna
November 21, 2019 10:21 am

If he Truly wishes to know the state of the GBR, he should simply travel there himself and view it first hand.

John F. Hultquist
November 20, 2019 11:33 pm

two 20-metre long transects

What this reminds me of – – –

One of the first papers I read after we got a relatively fast internet connection (DSL in 2008) was called the “Ohio State” paper by Steve McIntyre (Climate Audit).
From memory:
Between eating and having a beer or two, Steve and friends visited (and cored?) Bristlecone Pines that the academic folks claimed were remote and costly to do. This action took all of an afternoon and a short hike.
Contrast this with a university research grant that needs professor salaries, a graduate student or two, a new computer, mapping software, publication expenses, and travel to at least one major conference to present the findings.

So, with the Beige Reef video, Jennifer, friends, and a drone named Skido have prevented the awarding of a multi-thousand dollar research grant to a greedy university.

Poking a hornets nest, I think.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
November 21, 2019 12:52 am

Exactly, that’s what I thought the moment I read that in the last post on this topic. The report writer is out on a field trip, and has borrowed 20 m departmental tape-measure so let’s do a couple of random transects then. We’ve got no scuba or snorkeling gear so we’ll need to do this in the shallows of the reef flat then write up a little report to show we did something on our trip. Egad, the reef-top is like, completely dead!

If you want to transect a reef you aim for something representative of the reef in a known logged location that’s either marked by permanent buoys or permanent submerged markers and logged with GPS, then run a float line between those points then get towed slowly as a constant slow speed to video along the rope in a repeatable way ,so you can return and video it again in similar conditions, to obtain a consistent result at same place, to compare changes year to year, in species observed and the percent coral cover estimated from the video. Many hundreds of meters long.

Frankly 2 x 20 m transects on a reef flat is a joke. That isn’t even trying, you can’t conclude anything useful from that. It sure isn’t representative of what’s at that reef, which continues for ~2 km offshore.

HD Hoese
Reply to  WXcycles
November 21, 2019 2:00 am

Before the Anthropocene I had an ecology course where we learned how to do transects. Before that a course in surveying. Both established proper procedures to avoid things like this, so I wonder how many resumes show such education, especially about care to avoid bias.

Bryan A
Reply to  WXcycles
November 21, 2019 10:25 am

Now let’s be certain to begin our first transect at the point where the coral stops and measure to where the corals begin again. Hmmm…20 meters. OK 20 meter transect it is then…

November 21, 2019 12:05 am

”Our society places enormous trust in scientists. It is as though they are the custodians of all truth.”

These people of shallow thought seem to think science and scientists are one and the same. In other words, when scientists open their mouths, science comes out.
Seems to me to be the root of the whole CC problem.

Jonathan Ranes
Reply to  Mike
November 21, 2019 11:37 am

scientists are not science…

I’m dropping that bomb at the Thanksgiving table for sure.

November 21, 2019 12:32 am

With regard to the Guardian and its split attitude to scientists: I’ve just been reading ‘Bad Pharma’ (an excellent book) by Ben Goldacre who is, or was, a Guardian journalist and this lays into the pharmaceutical industry and exposes the disgraceful practices at all all levels, including that of the scientists involved in the drug studies. I’ve also just been rereading the excerpts from the Climategate emails* and the similarity is remarkable yet the Guardian claims that ‘scientists’ must be believed when it suits the editorial line.

*a complaint has gone into the BBC but I expect they will brush it off.

Reply to  Susan
November 21, 2019 1:45 am

It’s a long time since I’ve seen Ben Goldacre’s name on the Guardian. He’s probably given up them as well.


Reply to  Susan
November 21, 2019 2:58 am

Try looking coldly at Ben’s views on climate change and then ask yourself why we should believe his views on “Big Anything”!

Reply to  Newminster
November 21, 2019 4:49 am

I don’t happen to know Goldacre’s views on climate change but I read him as a Guardian loyalist on that one. It does not affect the value of his other opinions which are well researched and documented.

November 21, 2019 12:38 am

… most scientific studies are wrong because scientists are interested in funding their research and their careers rather than the truth.

There are perverse incentives that undermine the credibility of science.

– There is a huge oversupply of PhDs.
– If a young PhD manages to get an academic job at all, she has to publish in order to keep that job. Otherwise, she can spend the rest of her career teaching on short term contracts making poverty wages. Certainly, it is almost impossible to get tenure (ie. a long term continuing job) without publishing.
– Journals want to publish novel, interesting, results.
– So, to get a permanent job, a new PhD has to produce novel results. Also, those results can’t upset the apple carts of the established orthodoxy.
– There’s no penalty for being wrong.

The result of the above is that most published research findings are wrong.

When it comes to things like global warming, the mantra “trust us we’re scientists” is a sick joke.

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  commieBob
November 21, 2019 2:08 am

There is a thing in academia called an LPU, a ‘least publishable unit”. It is what a barrel of oil, ounce of gold or other commodity unit is in the international market place, a unit of production to which a price is attached.

It seems to me that JCU crew were out and about looking to pop out an LPU or two to justify a day out of the office, generate some research funding for JCU and top up their publishing CVs.

The only quality consideration is that it passes muster with the ‘science communications’ cadre at JCU who sex up the concurrent pres release and seduce the msm with a new opportunity to write DEADLY, CATASTROPHIC etc in their subsequent copy.

Its just the good ol’ academia-media complex plugging away at its day job.

Reply to  Komrade Kuma
November 21, 2019 3:35 am

… academia-media complex …

Media coverage can help with feathering your own nest or if you have an agenda outside your actual research. link

November 21, 2019 12:41 am

Maybe a dumb question, but what role does a lot of rain water play in killing and setting back coral colonies when sea level falls during El Nino events, when also perhaps sunlight may be more energetic with UV while sea level is naturally lower? Rain water has PH of about 5.6 and is also cooler than the the ocean water making the shallow ocean a bit more acidic temporarily after a heavy rain, so it seems to me that a lot of sporadic die offs may be attributable to just natural events in particular locations. And then everything recovers anyway when conditions are right. But in the mean time, just like Green Peace using the same photos of the clearcuts from 1971, the climate alarmists take pictures of damaged coral areas and hold that up as permanently affected when in reality, things recover to some type of baseline when conditions change as well.

November 21, 2019 12:50 am

Jennifer Marohasy is continuing her Herculean efforts to bring the truth about the health of the whole Great Barrier Reef to the public, in the face of highly funded nonsense continually spewing out of James Cook University, (University ?).

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 21, 2019 1:21 am

When did anecdote become a scientific technique?

As for the Gruaniad, it long ago left the planet and is well on its path to the alternative universe where facts are minor irritations to be ignored and right-on politicians can spend limitless amounts without consequences on green fantasies and Venezuela style economics.

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 21, 2019 8:11 am

‘Venezualan economics’…
Hmmm, I think you all but have nailed it MCEA. Pretty much says it all.

November 21, 2019 1:59 am


Hoey added that a separate claim in the video that no bleached corals had been found was misleading, because “you wouldn’t expect to see any unless that area was experiencing an extended period of elevated temperatures at that time”.

So it is misleading to tell that the corals were not bleached, because, of course they are not. Because they are not bleached always, but only sometimes, so healthy coral may not be used as a proof to say the earlier anecdotal bleaching was only anecdotal, because healthy corals are anecdotal, whereas bleached corals are a a true, non-anecdotal sign of anomalous warm water.

Did I get this right?

I will not comment of the naïve earthquake comparison, which essentially insinuates healthy corals are now anecdotal. I will just say it will take a lot of money to show these people spin their results.

Honestly I was expecting this kind of reaction; Marohasy wasn’t particularly polite on her colleagues.

Reply to  Hugs
November 21, 2019 2:48 pm

These are near coastal corals where the air temperature off the land is by far the highest, where the water is the shallowest and the most heated during Summer, where there’s the least water-flushing occurring during tide flows to bring in cooler oceanic waters, where there’s the most rainwater inputs, the most dust, the most mud, the most variability in water quality, and the most accessible to human action and impact, and is close to a town. Yet, there’s healthy 100% coral-cover below the low-tide level, regardless.

And the official plus gratuitous NGO doom-mongers, plus the fake-media like the Guardian, expect us to believe this nonsense, that the several orders-of-magnitude larger Great barrier Reef’s outer-reef complexes are somehow being destroyed by human actions?

What a fraudulent myth this is in the media!

>90% of the Great Barrier Reef is located between 10 km and 150 km offshore! Humans actually rarely visit most of it. It’s a long way out, in even in a fast boat, and it’s not cheap to go out there. But we’re expected to believe that humans are destroying the GBR via just 0.04% of the atmosphere being CO2? And humans being responsible for producing just 3.75% of the annual rise in that trifling 0.04%.

While there’s no evidence the GBR is even being NET degraded by humans. It’s near to pristine! There’s probably more healthy coral on it today than before European’s colonized Sydney, in 1778, during the coldest phase of the Little Ice age. Corals at the southern end of the reef, south of the Tropic of Capricorn would have struggled with cooler waters for more of the year back then, probably stunting them and degrading the quality of the reef.

But media protectors of the watermelon lie-factory, namely the Guardian, wish to attack replicateable verifiable physical fact, to strive to make a mockery of science, to quell and attack open, free debates, instead.

“The Guardian” is what results when suppurating-pustules pretend to be ‘Journalists’.

Reply to  Hugs
November 22, 2019 12:57 am

But I thought that the whole point was that we are ‘experiencing an extended period of elevated temperatures’ all the time. If Hoey acknowledges that is not the case what is all the fuss about?

Hokey Schtick
November 21, 2019 2:00 am

Everyone has completely lost their minds.

Ron Long
November 21, 2019 2:14 am

Great catch, Charles R. What a great film by Dr. Jennifer Marohasy, a film both informative and beautiful. We geologists consider coral reefs to be the “limestone factories” where the limestones (sometimes converted to dolomite if a back-reef area concentrates magnesium and undergoes sabka pumping) are generated by the voluminous debris from the living and dying and living and dying creatures. These limestones are common hosts for “Carlin-type gold deposits, contact metasomatic base and precious metal deposits, and yes, even reservoirs for some of that black gold. It is a shame that Dr. Marohasy was seriously attacked by Great White Sharks, not the kind in the oceans but the kind increasingly found slinking around in the halls of academia. I look forward to her next film and send her five stars for her work.

November 21, 2019 2:19 am

“Overall, this study provides robust baseline information on the timing and potential cause/s of the changes observed in a collection of historical photographs,”.

From the Nature paper. There’s that word ‘robust’ again.

No it doesnt, it’s nothing more than drivel. Virtually nothing in the paper is accurate. Nobody checks these papers anymore.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  thingadonta
November 21, 2019 2:34 am

When using the term ‘robust’ you know that the writer(s) do protest too much.

George Lawson
November 21, 2019 2:53 am

Dr Jennifer Marohasy must be congratulated on her brave exposure of the scientists who lie in order to secure their next university or public research grants. It is clear that her exposures are getting through to some of the main stream media if judged by the critical comments in particular in the Guardian, and are touching the nerves of scientists who are known to have lied about coral reefs such as Dr. Tara Clark, who proclaimed the reef virtually dead. Clark must not be let off the hook and must be forced to explain why her written version of the death of the reef conflicts totally with the Jennifer Morahasy excellent visual video report. The suggestion that James Cook University should also be asked for visual proof supporting their reports that the reefs are dead should also be pursued vigorously in support of Dr Ridd. It is encouraging that Miss Morasay intends to produce more videos of healthy reefs, this is important – ‘a good picture is worth 1000 words!’ Miss Morahasy is going to be very busy in the future, and for her endeavours she will receive much abuse from the research cheats. We sceptics must show she has our 100 per cent support for what she is doing, and help her to make her working life as easy as possible ; she is likely to prove to be one of the most valuable assets for our cause.

November 21, 2019 3:12 am

I left the following comment at Jennifer’s blog on the thread of this post:

Jennifer, you wrote, “Our society places enormous trust in scientists. It is as though they are the custodians of all truth.”

Only the innocent, naïve, gullible, or drug-addled believe scientists are the custodians of any truth.


John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
November 21, 2019 8:22 am

There you go, ruining my day.

~~I read all of Bob T’s blog postings – – and trusted him every step of the way!
– – winking smiley face – – Poe’s Law

November 21, 2019 3:32 am

Everyone keeps going on about the GBR. What is the situation on all the other reefs worldwide? If they are OK then I suggest that IF there is a problem with GBR, and it is a BIG IF, it isn’t anything to do with weather or climate.

November 21, 2019 3:37 am

The coral reefs are doing fine.
From all the Data I have seen !


Peter D
November 21, 2019 3:46 am

I walk most days on the shore at the mouth of a giant coal port on the Great Barrier Reef. Giant bulk carriers come and go, along with giant LNG carriers. The port is on a river estuary. You would think this would be ground zero for dead reef.
At very low tide, there is live coral reef below the surface on the rocks. There are millions of fish, and birds hunting them. The reef has always been there. In season the beach stinks from the decay of coral spawn, tons of the stuff in different colours of the rainbow. Offshore there are dinghies, with people fishing. Big charter boats full of tourists and charter fishermen head out to the reef atolls.

In this city, no-one seems to accept that the reef is dead. Too much coral, too many fish. Too much living evidence. But even the local newspaper wouldn’t publish that. There are few local tourists, because you don’t hear about the vibrant reef in this area in Australia. Tourists are foreigners.

Dr Jennifer Marohasy is very brave. She is contradicting the official hoax on the death of the reef. A lot of knives are being sharpened.

Matheus Carvalho
Reply to  Peter D
November 21, 2019 7:57 am

Hey, I have never visited the reef, so could you please let me know which city is that?

Hocus Locus
November 21, 2019 3:48 am

Derya Akkaynak is working on a new system that uses a placed color target to accurately and algorithmically correct for underwater blue cast and backscatter effects,

November 21, 2019 3:59 am

A while back, I read an article that addressed the coral reefs in the Bahamas. It seems that there are enough fossil coral reefs there to show that there are recurring episodes of rising and falling sea levels over a long period of time. And the corals are still there and still thriving. And many of those episodes took place long before Hoomans got there and set up tourist spots.

That’s only one example that might show the fallacy that is going on in science now, but it won’t get the attention that panicky stuff gets. Too tame.

Reply to  Sara
November 21, 2019 5:08 am

“And many of those episodes took place long before Hoomans got there and set up tourist spots.”

They sure did but if it doesn’t fit the doomy gloomy Hoomy narrative it never happened-
They don’t all survive the dooming though-

Doug Huffman
November 21, 2019 4:41 am

Dr. Jennifer Marohasy is the Jordan B. Peterson for the warmer crowd.

November 21, 2019 5:10 am

How does this add up?
“citizen scientists followed an agreed methodology at 77 sites on 22 reefs encompassing some of the Great Barrier Reef’s most popular dive sites – concluded that 43 sites showed no net change in hard coral cover, 23 sites showed an increase by more than 10 per cent (10–41 per cent, net change), and 17 sites showed a decrease by more than 10 per cent (10–63 per cent, net change)”

43 + 23 + 17 is more than 77.

Also, why isn’t there a statement that a change of less than 10% is considered as none?

November 21, 2019 5:46 am

It’s about money. Travel around and tell people at travel agencies that the Guardian says the reef is dead and there’s no reason to sell tickets there. Stand outside with signs saying the Guardian and others says you’re wasting your money on a dead reef. I know there’s a desire to educate, but stupid people cannot learn and many simply have no desire to learn. However, tourist locations depend on selling an image. Report what the news media does about the location. It’s honest and all evidence says it will be very, very effective. Australia depends on tourists—so, take those away and see if lies are still the way to go according to the press and government.

November 21, 2019 6:09 am

Whether is it “science”, journalism, politics, religion, or any of countless topics, whenever a truth teller is effectively goring a liar’s ox, the liar attacks the truthteller, not the underlying truth that exposes their lies.

Just look at what the scurilous GOPers, lead by the criminally inclined tweeting POTUS, are doing to the truth tellers in the House impeachment hearings.

Humans. Our nature never changes – only the names change.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Duane
November 21, 2019 7:45 am

“Just look at what the scurilous GOPers, lead by the criminally inclined tweeting POTUS, are doing to the truth tellers in the House impeachment hearings.

Humans. Our nature never changes – only the names change.”

Yeah, humans see what we want to see, don’t we.

What I saw was the POTUS and the GOPers telling the truth, and pointng out that your “truth tellers” have not laid a glove on Trump. The US ambassador to Ukraine said yesterday, and said plainly, that he had no knowledge of a quid pro quo between Trump and the Ukranian president, yet ABC News yesterday led off their broadcast with the blatant lie that Trump had been caught trying to coerce the Ukranian president. The source of this lie, the US ambassador, actually refuted the lie in his testimony, and then ABC News reports the lie as fact, even though they know it’s a blantant lie. That’s the state of our “News Media” today. They are blatant political propagandists pushing leftwing lies.

Do you get your news from ABC News, Duane?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 21, 2019 6:57 pm

Strobe Talbot. Remember that name.

Reply to  Duane
November 21, 2019 3:40 pm

Your misanthropy is showing.

Reply to  Duane
November 21, 2019 3:42 pm

Duane: I see you live in the land of fantasy…..

Reply to  Duane
November 21, 2019 5:13 pm

Duane, I believe you should invest in a mirror.

Abolition Man
November 21, 2019 7:09 am

We are dealing with a group who, if they are credentialed scientists, see their training and positions as a means to proselytize to the unenlightened masses. The neo-Marxists or Progressives are a radical cult-like religion that has set out to, and largely succeeded in, taking over academia and most media in a conscious effort to subvert liberal, Western democracies for their Great Sin of refuting Marxism by making their citizens freer and more prosperous than any other group in human history. Whether your talking about urinalists at the Grauniad or CNN, professors at JCU and most other universities or the politicians and bureaucrats who try to rule over stinky masses, you’re talking about like-minded individuals who received thieir indoctrination throughout college or earlier and will use ANY MEANS NECESSARY to attain their goals.

Anyone who majored in urinalism or something with “studies” or “science” in the title is probably an adherent of this religion. Many scientists have become reluctant novices in order to receive grant money and favorable publicity. Asking to them to use facts, logic or history is like wrestling a pig in mud; you just get filthy and the pig enjoys the exercise. We should be pointing to the lies and fallacies of their faith instead.

Over the last ten years our society has been pushed from accepting gay “marriage” to transgenderism with the repeated CAGW mantra thrown in as a bass line. Where will this go next? It looks like pedophilia and bestiality are in the works; many Progressives are already in favor of one or both! Without the work of talented individuals like Dr. Marohasy we will never be able to push back effectively against this cult of ignorance and lies. Know your arguments (I like geology and astrophysics) and don’t be afraid to ask them, “Do you really believe all that religious mumbo-jumbo!?” They really hate that!

Tom Abbott
November 21, 2019 7:51 am

From the article: “although neither the intensity nor frequency of cyclones is increasing at the Great Barrier Reef, despite climate change. ”

Huh? Despite climate change? That’s an odd way to put it. What does that mean exactly?

Jeff in Calgary
November 21, 2019 9:20 am

If more people would get out of the house and experience nature, rather than constantly watching youtube, it would be a lot harder for this type of misinformation.

November 21, 2019 9:23 am

It’s interesting that the Guardian claims that Marohasy has misrepresented Clark’s research and Marohasy is claiming and showing that the reef is doing well in an area that Clark claimed no longer has coral. If Clark is claiming that she has been misrepresented she must therefore be claiming that there is indeed coral in the area referred to and presumably we can all agree that the reef is not dying. Her claim of misrepresentation doesn’t in any way invalidate that contrary to claims by scientists the reef is not dead which thanks to Marohasy’s film people can see with their own eyes.
I find it’s a major chutzpah to claim criticism of a cherry picked piece of activist research was unfairly refuted by a cherry picked piece of research. Even if Mahorasy’s footage is the only healthy coral in the whole of the 2000 kilometres of the GBR it is not discredited by such argument cause we can see it with our own eyes.
Ironically hopefully the highlighting of Marohasy’s film by the Guardian might show to some of its readers that maybe the death of the GBR has been called prematurely. However my guess is that their readers are so indoctrinated to the global warming agenda that they will be incapable of seeing the truth with their own eyes.

John Burdick
November 21, 2019 10:21 am

My wife and I are avid snorkelers. We visited Australia Dec 2018-Jan 2019 and went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef at many locations during our month long visit. This was off the East coast near Port Douglas, Cairns and Airlie Beach.

While we did see shallow areas of dead coral, many of the areas showed renewed coral growth. We were told the Super El Niño of 2016-16 along with a large typhoon caused much of the recent bleaching events and since then the ocean has cooled and corals are returning to healthy growth and color. The reef fish were abundant and snorkeling was better in some areas than others.

In 2018 we went Malaysia and the snorkeling there was out of this world with very little coral bleaching and a virtual underwater garden. The only downside there being the amount of plastics floating in what would otherwise be a pristine underwater paradise.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  John Burdick
November 21, 2019 12:23 pm

Great Observations! I’m fairly sure the water in Malaysia is warmer than in Australia. The fact that reefs can flourish in warmer waters kind of sinks the notion that GBR is being harmed from CAGW.

PS, El Nino related coral bleaching is not from warmer than normal water, it is from sea level drop in the Western Pacific (the El Nino winds push the water to the Eastern Pacific up against the Americas)

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
November 21, 2019 4:17 pm

PS, El Nino related coral bleaching is not from warmer than normal water, it is from sea level drop in the Western Pacific (the El Nino winds push the water to the Eastern Pacific up against the Americas)

You’re right about the water level dropping slightly, but you are not correct at all about a lack of warmer water temperatures.

During El-Ninos the air relatively stagnates over Queensland and becomes very hot, with a much drier than normal hot NE tropospheric wind flows, which inhibits the usual cooling during La-Nina’s SE trade-wind flow. That results in very few clouds, more hot land breezes more often, plus much less onshore wind and currents, thus less cooler oceanic waters flushing though the very wide GBR lagoon area. There is also less rain and higher salinity, due higher evaporation and less mixing.

The result is the 30 km to 150 km wide shallow littoral GBR ‘lagoon’ waters rise sharply in temperature during El-Nino summers, to levels that severely damage and bleach the shallow water corals.

Let’s not pretend such water heating doesn’t occur, it does, and it effectively terminates hallow most water corals. The deeper corals almost always survive as deeper lagoon waters remain cooler as there is less mixing due to the slack winds.

It’s a very hot and unpleasant time for humans, on the coast, as well.

When La-Nina returns the trade winds and cooling air resume, and the GBR lagoon waters cool down again, cloud cover and cooling showers also return, and there’s much more on-shore mixing of ocean waters with lagoon waters, each tide change.

Then the damaged and bleached shallow-water corals are recolonized by freshly spawned coral plankton during Spring and there is an explosion of new species and healthy coral-cover rapidly begins to approach 100%. Once grown the corals compete and may kill each other off a bit until the density drops back some, as the less competitive corals are overgrown. Coral reefs are very dynamic and are just as ‘seasonal’ as a forest or field. El-Nino to La-Nina temperature and water level variations just serve to disturb them, and make them more dynamic, with no damage lasting beyond about two or three years. Most damage is gone within 18 months.

Warmer than normal water is very much a factor in the health of the reef, but the impacts have simply been blown out of all proportion, and the fact that the reef grows like a weed in your garden is also ignored, omitted and down-played. The shallow corals to suffer heat stress, and they can die, but they also recolonize and return very quickly to a dead zone, all by themselves. In fact, as dead shallow sunny substrate is paradise for coral plankton to settle on and grow.

The growth rate skyrockets in those conditions, once the cooling south Pacific trade winds and currents return.

Michael Carter
November 21, 2019 11:43 am

Of late I have been considering the contrast between scientific publication peer review and engineering peer review. There are lesson to be learnt.

I am a practicing engineering geologist. I compile geotechnical reports for building sites. If my conclusions are wrong and lead to failure it costs my client, my reputation, and my insurance company a lot of money. The degree of field investigation is controlled by the value and hazard potential of the project. We need to infer much of the ground conditions based around training and experience. Design factors of safety are significant.

Recently I completed a very problematic job where the client had bought a section in which a natural watercourse bisected their proposed dwelling footprint. The report went in to council and bingo, they sent it our for peer review. The review came back with all kinds of extra demands on analysis and report content. Some of the demands where – in my view – silly and would blow out a normal quote for this scale of job.

I have never been peer reviewed before and was pretty pissed. However having now gone through the process I rank it as a very valuable experience and have adopted some of the recommendations in subsequent reports. I gave way a bit and so did they. The job went ahead.

The main point I make here is that engineering peer review requires a MEETING of the PARTIES where differences can be hammered out such that potential flaws or conclusions in a design proposal can be minimised. Imagine if we where to communicate through the media. How stupid.

In my case a client’s life investment is at stake. All vested parties have to swallow their pride in the endeavor for the best outcome. Surely the GBR is of sufficient economic importance to warrant a meeting of all parties to talk through differences in a mature manner. IMO there is no other option.

The most important professional in the room will be the statistician. I am picking that given the area of the GBR, current research will far from adequate.

Engineers have one thing on their mind: the best possible outcome. Maybe its time to introduce a law where climate modelers and/or predictors are financially liable for inaccuracies in the future. Some peoples’s life investments are at stake.

Just some thoughts


November 21, 2019 10:39 pm

Dr Jennifer is terrific.
Not only does this Film show actuality but her fights with the Australian Bureau of Mythology (sorry Meteorology) are legend as she makes them backtrack on absurd “homogenizations” and fake headlines.

November 22, 2019 4:09 am

I too have had the privilege of snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. It is indeed a wondrous place. We started our trip out of Port Douglas and as suggested in a previous comments, depending on your starting point it is quite a boat trip out to the reef. It took us more than an hour to reach our dive point. These reefs cover a massive area.

We get some serious cyclones in this part of Australia from time to time and sometimes damage occurs on the reefs, they inevitably recover. There is a creature called the crown of thorn starfish that loves to eat coral and at times the conditions favour the starfish more than the corals. When they out of control you can see more of these starfish than coral. I believe that these are an introduced species, nonetheless the corals eventually recover.

Natural weather events also affect the corals. We do get extreme heat here at times and that is not new, but if it is prolonged and coincides with low tides then it puts some of the more exposed corals under stress.

After our dive we were given a very informative talk by a marine biologist. At no time did he mention climate change or that the reef was under any kind of threat (this trip was only a few years ago). He did mention a fact that stayed with me that I don’t think has been mentioned in this post. Reef corals have a symbiotic relationship with algae which is where their colour comes from. During times of extreme heat the algae dies and at this point is expelled by the corals. The coral appears white but is not in fact dead at this point. It has, I believe, up to 14 weeks to take up fresh algae and resume it’s healthy status.

Things are not always as they seem.

Johann Wundersamer
November 27, 2019 11:09 pm
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