Who Ate the Green Plate?

Reposted from Jennifer Marohasy’s Blog

March 5, 2021 By jennifer 

I wasn’t the one who took that bite out of that green plate coral. Can you see what looks like a bite mark? It is at about 4 o’clock on the large, green, plate coral, which is also one of the transect photographs taken last week, on 22nd February at Pixie Reef by Leonard Lim.

Corals one metre along what was the second transect at 3 metres’ depth at the front of Pixie Reef on 22nd February 2021. Photo credit: Leo Lim.

I’m so proud of the 360 underwater photographs taken along 36 transects that were laid in four different habitat types: at the reef front, in the back lagoon, at the reef crest, and we also laid three transects at the bottom of the reef crest – beginning at a depth of ten metres at what I’m calling the western flank. It was hard work, over two days, but these photographs and the corresponding videos will provide some evidence as to the state of the corals at Pixie reef for that moment in time.

Table 1.2 Photographs: Pixie Reef Crest, 24th February 2021

Date: 24 Feb 2021
Habitat: Crest
Locations Reps 1 to 6 respectively: 16°32.635’S 145°51.848’E, 16°32.630’S 145°51.855’E, 16°32.629’S 145°51.873’E, 16°32.627’S 145°51.885’E, 16°32.624’S 145°51.877’E, 16°32.623’S 145°51.875’E


I was so grateful that we were able to lay transects along the reef front at Pixie. If you click on the thumbnails in the above table you will see some of the photographs. There will be many more uploaded at the ‘Pixie Reef Data Page 2021’ over the next couple of weeks. Leo took 120 photographs from the reef front at two different depths: 3 metres and also 6 metres.

Last November, I only visited the back lagoon. More usually, the prevailing wind is blowing onto the reef from the south east/from the front making access to this front section of the reef difficult. But on 22nd February the wind was blowing from the north northwest. (It was a hot day, and we did return to harbour under Anvil clouds, with Stuart bringing his little speed boat with us safely through a storm that afternoon. Thank you.)

This reef, Pixie Reef, was ‘surveyed’ back on 22nd March 2016 from the air by Terry Hughes of James Cook University during one of his fly pasts. It was concluded from that single observation/glance-down from 150 metres altitude that that this reef was 65% bleached. The inshore reefs north of Cairns were more or less all written-off, back then, by the experts and the mainstream media, as ruin – as dead. But they are not, not at all. (And I do worry for all the children who now believe this precious environment/the Great Barrier Reef is dead from ‘carbon dioxide pollution’.)

Pixie Reef was one of thousands of coral reefs ‘surveyed’ during March to April 2016, with the overall conclusion – reported on the front-pages of newspapers worldwide and now incorporated into schoolbooks – being that the Great Barrier Reef is more than half dead: that more than half of the corals have suddenly died from global warming.

It is my hypothesis that these coral health assessments of the Great Barrier Reef, comprising 1,156 reefs including Pixie Reef as published in the peer-reviewed technical literature by Terry Hughes and others, are yet another example of the mismatch between official government-sponsored (taxpayer funded) propaganda masquerading as science, versus reality.

Jen floating, with aerial photograph taken at 20 metres above the front of Pixie Reef on 22nd February, just before the thunderstorm hit.
Jen floating above the reef front, holding a safety sausage showing exactly one metre. This aerial was taken by Stuart Ireland at exactly 120 metres altitude.

It is only under the water that we can see the true state of the corals.

Of course, Pixie Reef is where I found and named that extraordinary, large and old Porites after Craig Kelly MP. I visited ‘Porites Craig’ again on 22nd February. That bolder coral still looks relatively pale from a distance, but up close it is evident that the massive coral colony/Porites Craig has a lot of colour – with all its corallites intact and healthy.

The massive Porites in the back lagoon at Pixie Reef. Photographed with me on 22nd February by Leo Lim.
Porites Craig is massive, and a thin veneer of living coral comprising so many corallites as shown in this photographs taken by me (Jennifer Marohasy) on 22nd January 2021.

There is such a diversity of different coral types, coral species and in so many different coral colours at Pixie Reef.

And what about that green plate coral – with the bite mark? (Could it be from the pixies?)

A green plate coral missing some/with a bite mark.

I hypothesis that the little beige-coloured brain coral, which you can see directly under what I am describing as the bite mark, is responsible. This is perhaps a species of FavitesSymphyllia, and it could be extending its tentacles at night and eating up that section of plate coral directly above it. Very likely the Symphyllia sp.Favites sp. is eating away at the Acropora sp., so it has access to sunlight for its own zooxanthellae.

There are so many of them at Pixie Reef – all different types of corals including healthy plate corals in shades of green and also brown. You can see them in the transect photographs, click across to the new page where they will be uploaded over the next couple of weeks: https://jennifermarohasy.com/coralreefs/pixie2021/ .

So many pretty corals, but no pixies.


This is Part 4 of ‘Measuring Old Corals & Coral Reefs’, essentially written to let everyone know about the new data page for Pixie Reef. You can access other data pages here: https://jennifermarohasy.com/coralreefs/

There has already been a Part 1 and a Part 2:

The blog post about the garden of old Porites at Myrmidon should really be Part 3, ‘tis here: https://jennifermarohasy.com/2020/12/gardens-of-old-porites-without-sharks/

And so much thanks to Leonard Lim and Stuart Ireland for all the photographs and video from Pixie last week, and to The B. Macfie Family Foundation for believing in us.

Pixie Reef on 22nd February 2021 from about 120 metres looking to the east. Photo credit: Stuart Ireland.
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March 7, 2021 2:33 pm

Beautiful, so alive and very different from my location in the Colorado Rockies. I downloaded a couple images to use as background screens on my PC.

Reply to  tommyboy
March 8, 2021 4:22 am

i’ll swap you. I’ll take take the rockies over a few fish.

Reply to  tommyboy
March 8, 2021 2:44 pm

Jen, that’s not a bite out of the coral
The coral beneath it has stinging tentacles….to keep the coral from growing over it
..if the coral had been growing over it….it would not be that healthy, probably dead

March 7, 2021 2:40 pm

Beautiful evidence to illuminate the lies of climate doomsayers. We live on an extraordinary planet with amazingly adaptable organisms flourishing in its widely varying environments.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  stinkerp
March 7, 2021 7:14 pm

That’s just it, they aren’t adapting to much of anything, there isn’t a whole lot of change

Reply to  stinkerp
March 7, 2021 8:08 pm

If CAGW were a real thing, they wouldn’t need to stoop to fraud to prove it.

March 7, 2021 3:03 pm

Jennifer’s comments on Terry Hughes’ measurements made me think of the work of Samuel Morton. His skull measurements showed that Africans were intellectually inferior to whites. When I was a pup, he was held up as an example of a biased researcher who twisted the data so it conformed to his preconceptions.

The linked article tells of Morton and another researcher who produced not dissimilar data, but who reached wildly different conclusions.

When I was taught about Morton, I thought the message was that we didn’t do that kind of crap any more. Either the message was wrong or I misinterpreted it. We do that kind of crap all the time. Morton should not be taken as someone from the quaint old days. Morton should be taken as a stark warning.

Reply to  commieBob
March 7, 2021 6:59 pm

From the linked article:

while Morton’s data-collection methods produced accurate numbers and were likely not intentionally biased, the scientist’s conclusions — that Caucasians had the largest skull size and therefore, the highest intelligence and that Africans had the smallest skull size and lowest intelligence — blatantly were

From the Wikipedia article “Neuroscience and intelligence”:

Overall, larger brain size and volume is associated with better cognitive functioning and higher intelligence.

Morton’s findings are validated by continuing research into brain volume and intelligence, however it may be that Morton’s samples didn’t cover all the populations of Africa and Europe rendering his generalizations about Caucasians and Blacks indefensible.

Humans vary widely in intelligence. Is it genetic? Is it endemic to certain races? I don’t know but there are numerous cases of extremely intelligent kids whose parents weren’t and vice versa.

Reply to  stinkerp
March 7, 2021 8:05 pm

The study of Intelligence is a rancid pit.

Modern neuroscience shows that people can grow bigger brains. A common example is London cabbies who grow bigger hippocampi. link On the other hand, there’s no evidence their skulls expand to accommodate their larger brains.

How many elephants have won Nobel prizes lately? They have huge brains.

Did you know there are African countries where the average IQ is 59. Those people shouldn’t even be able to figure out how to get out of bed in the morning, let alone run a country.

Suppose, for a moment, we assume Morton was completely correct. That means the other scientist was wrong. The usual explanation was that they had different biases and that influenced their conclusions. The result is still that there is a stark warning.

People suffer from confirmation bias. If you use a shitty ,method to measure coral and the results accord with the results you want to see, you will look no further. You’re just fooling yourself and you’re the easiest one for you to fool. link

Last edited 1 year ago by commieBob
Gary Pearse
Reply to  commieBob
March 7, 2021 8:23 pm

The skull measurements stopped when they apparently discovered native North Americans had on average the highest volume brain cases of all!

Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 8, 2021 5:05 am

There is also this:

On the morning of June 10, 1898, Alice Lee marched into the all-male Anatomical Society meeting at Trinity College in Dublin and pulled out a measuring instrument. She then began to take stock of all 35 of the consenting society members’ heads. Lee ranked their skulls from largest to smallest to find that—lo and behold—some of the most well-regarded intellects in their field turned out to possess rather small, unremarkable skulls.

This posed a problem, since these anatomists believed that cranial capacity determined intelligence. There were two possibilities: Either these men weren’t as smart as they thought they were, or the size of their skulls had nothing to do with their intelligence.


Bill Rocks
March 7, 2021 3:14 pm

Good work, nice photos. Reality bites even when sharks do not..

Corals have been on earth for at least 475 million years. Why should we believe that a small increase in atmospheric CO2 will have any significant negative effect on coral reefs? Earth temperature and atmospheric CO2 content have both been higher than at the present multiple times during the past 475 million years.

CAGW believers should make another guess.

Rud Istvan
March 7, 2021 3:26 pm

What is so interesting is the big differences between the GBR here and the three level scuba dive reef just off my place in FLL, which again is very different than the reefs I took my then ‘kids’ snorkeling off St. Croix’s Carambola Beach resort and also the ‘adjacent’ (a mere two hour sailboat ride away) Virgin Islands underwater national park coral trail.

Have never seen a plate coral. Plenty of brains and porites. We snorkeled the VI national park trail just a year after a major hurricane. All the big staghorns were devastated, just like the mountain slopes behind the Carambola resort. They have all grown back—both the corals and the forest.

Fun Anecdote. So I had both kids newly learned snorkeling on the reef off Carambola in maybe 10 feet of crystal clear water. They were fascinated. A dolphin decided to check us out up close. My wife panicked thinking it was a shark fin. The kids thought it was just a friendly water puppy. All good.

Jim in NEF
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 7, 2021 6:41 pm

My wife and I stayed in that resort for our 10th anniversary many years ago. Great little beach with some excellent waves.

March 7, 2021 4:02 pm

Jennifer & crew always tell it like it is.

In a similar vein, I can’t understand why coral reefers don’t hold up the Bikini Atoll lagoon coral reefs as their poster child inspiration for the resilience of these marine lifeforms.

Geez, the BI reefs were totally obliterated by atomic bomb tests in the 1950s, but came back from this annihilation to their original size & health all by themselves in just 60 years.

It’s as if they said to the nuclear bombers – “is that all ya got?”

Rod Evans
Reply to  Mr.
March 8, 2021 12:24 am

Great comment, Mr, thanks. 🙂
Clearly half a degree warmer water is deadly to corals according to the Micky Menn AGW team, but a few hundred thousands of degrees is good for them.
No doubt a new Mann book and a new computer model run will explain it all to us very shortly

March 7, 2021 4:47 pm

This might explain why JCU seem to have started climbing back out of the hole they have dug. These transects demonstrate that the assertions by Terry Hughes el al are closer to official misconduct than just errors.(Yep – Crime and Corruption Act
2001 version 25 May 2020 would still apply.)

Ron Long
March 7, 2021 4:58 pm

Great work by Jennifer and the whole team. Nothing like science up close and personal, it is where reality exists. Great photos also.

March 7, 2021 5:35 pm

Great work. Jennifer needs a “surfacestations.org” style project to get many more snorkelers observating up close, taking pictures, to demonstrate the actual status of the GBR from underwater, not from the sky.

Reply to  BobM
March 7, 2021 7:18 pm

But most folk have absolutely no grasp of how vast and remote the GBR really is.

If we all believed the JCU charlatans and their media acolytes, we’d think the GBR is a beachside suburb of Gladstone, Mackay, Townsville or Cairns.

Reality is that most of the 3,000 kms of the GBR is ~ 100 kms offshore North / Far North Queensland.
And the waters out there can kick up real rough, even when there’s no cyclone about, just stiff tradewinds.

Reply to  Mr.
March 7, 2021 11:34 pm

You’re right, I have no grasp of it from here in the US. Never been to Australia. Would there not be any benefit of a systematic attempt by 10 or 100 volunteers using the same transect procedures to document the GBR status? Even just starting with the easy stuff? Again just asking. I got started here many years ago by watching Anthony’s project, and he has made a real impact. Jennifer seems to be onto something there, too.

Gary Pearse
March 7, 2021 7:43 pm

Jennifer, good work. I have no doubt it is your meticulous surveys that caused the Cook GBR Schnooks to start to walk back the gloom and doom about coral reefs. You shook them up.

I note they widened the field to a Pan Pacific scale. A good poker player would immediately see this as a ‘tell’. They did this to not have to refer to the GBR but still have something on paper to cover their bottoms when they need it.


I think your kind of work could attract sufficient funds to keep grant seekers in the climate industry honest. Also, those wonderful photos could be published in an upbeat book on a bristling GBR for children to be reassured.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 7, 2021 9:02 pm

“…photos could be published in an upbeat book…for children to be reassured.”
I agree, but funding is reserved for those on the side of fear porn, and publishing independently means you do not have the massive publicity machine supporting the porn industry. So your kids wil get one, my kids will get one, everyone on this site may get one, the whole choir will hear the sermon, but the lost souls wandering the desert of AGW will never hear the Good News…
Religion is just another political system, and politics is just another expression of religion. You cannot fight gods with facts, we need to find the emotional core, and hammer it down from a formal pulpit, bedecked with symbolism and pomp and ritual. Otherwise we are all just cultists who believe in strange nonsense, like live corals and cold deserts and not even our sun is the reliable, ever-the-same constant “everybody can see never changes.”
What is our emotional ‘hook’?
Just a thought you brought up in my head now, Mr. Pearce. If you don’t agree, its still your fault… any ideas how we shall decorate the pulpit? Where’s the marketeers? We have Holy Writ to evangelise!

Matthew Sykes
March 7, 2021 11:33 pm

Well done! Some nice detailed science for a change. Now how about getting this story run in the MSM? Ah, perhaps that is just too much to expect.

March 7, 2021 11:39 pm

Love the picture from 120 metres, just think what the view from 150 metres and say 120 knots is like.

I assume that because you cannot be clearly seen from 120 metres that you are in fact dead?

Great take-away message!

Last edited 1 year ago by Philip Mulholland
Bill Parsons
March 7, 2021 11:56 pm

Don’t know if she tunes in to WUWT, but want to express my great respect and not a little envy at Jennifer Morohasy’s gumption.

Your pictures are stunning. You say an aerial surveyor called Pixie Reef dead. Based on the final aerial pic shown in this post, I can see how some cherry-picked aerial photographs might well be used to convince a landlubber like me that the glass was half-empty. The grey mass in the upper left part of screen looks much different from the turquoise and emerald green where your boat is anchored. Would it be possible to superimpose a grid over that photo corresponding to your transects? If that is coral in the upper-left, how would you assess its health? How commonly do you see die-off next to healthy coral?

Where I grew up, we spent summers traipsing through heavily forested Rocky Mountains, and became accustomed to transitioning between big swaths of verdant, green and healthy lodgepole pine and aspen forest into adjacent hills and valleys of beetle-kill where the bugs hadn’t yet done their thing. I don’t know how far back the beetle kill cycles go, but one study says there have been at least 5 die-offs of a size comparable to the current one in Colorado, since the 1860’s. Not hard to imagine beetle kill across the Rockies for millennia in between massive forest fires and all kinds of weather, both hotter and colder.


robin townsend
March 8, 2021 12:59 am

This is so ridiculous. i watched david attenblagger again claiming last night about corals dieing. everyone makes claimed measurements from space. goes to bleached places., makes 2 + 2 = 5. But noone goes there and just measures with photographic evidence which will stand for years and years.
Congratulations. and presumably a lot cheaper – so that wont be done again will it?
Really enjoying your work, thanks.

Reply to  robin townsend
March 8, 2021 4:06 pm

What would the Walrus say?


Reply to  Dennis
March 9, 2021 7:17 am

Dunno, but you can ask Chumley.

March 8, 2021 2:27 am

Who ate the coral – most likely a known coral muncher?


Reply to  MrGimNasty
March 8, 2021 2:44 pm

Jen, that’s not a bite out of the coral
The coral beneath it has stinging tentacles….to keep the coral from growing over it
..if the coral had been growing over it….it would not be that healthy, probably dead

Reply to  Latitude
March 9, 2021 3:54 am

Possible (almost anything is in nature!), but it looks like fresh damage to me, and corals are quite happy growing in and around and over and under each other, I think the positioning is just coincidence.

Alasdair Fairbairn
March 8, 2021 3:41 am

Well done Jennifer. Valuable work. Peter Ridd wil be having a chuckle here.
I anticipate a deafening silence from The Cook University and the MSM.
Just hope someone has sent a copy to David Attenborough and the BBC.

Patrick B
March 8, 2021 6:24 am

I dove Pixie Reef about 10 years ago with Mike Ball’s operation. Beautiful area – like all of the ribbon reefs. Given the dive boats visit these areas regularly, I wonder if you could get them involved in creating a record. I suspect many of the visiting divers would be interested in helping such a project as part of their vacation dives.

David Blenkinsop
March 8, 2021 7:58 am

“I hypothesis that the little beige-coloured brain coral, which you can see directly under what I am describing as the bite mark, is responsible.”

I really like the idea that the brain coral is eating a hole in the plate coral to allow the “brain” access to sunlight.

Pinky not allowed to cast a shadow on the Brain!

Mickey Reno
March 8, 2021 9:01 am

God bless you Jen for keeping on this. These alarmist Chicken Littles must be shown up as propagandists and dissemblers and spinners and liars that they are.

March 8, 2021 4:02 pm

President Obama when visiting Queensland, Australia, remarked to university students there that he was saddened by the rapidly disappearing Great Barrier Reef and hoped he could bring his daughters to see it before it was no longer there.

Thank you again Jennifer Marohasy, your images are encouraging, please forward them to the former POTUS to make him feel better.


March 8, 2021 4:05 pm

Apart from climate hoax propaganda deception and the Great Barrier Reef being a widely recognised must see tourist destination, it is revealing that all of the other coral reefs, even around Australia, are never mentioned.

Maybe scientists have been replaced by sales and marketing people at UN IPCC?

Ken Stewart
March 8, 2021 8:26 pm

About 18 months ago on a holiday in NQ I met a young man and his family from Victoria on holiday as well. I asked what he did for a living. He was a professional scuba diver. I said “I suppose you’ll go diving on the reef while you’re up here?” “Oh no, there’s nothing to see, the reef’s all dead.” I could not convince him otherwise unfortunately. The propagandists have done their job too well.
Keep doing what you’re doing, Jen!

Reply to  Ken Stewart
March 9, 2021 12:42 pm

He must have been very confused by all the diving shops and daily boats out to the dead reef. Remarkable that there wasn’t outrage at being charged to being taken to a dead zone. You can’t fix stupid.

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