There is lots to see and study at Lizard Island, despite loss of coral as a result of the 2016 bleaching. The images in this post were captured in Nov-Dec 2016 and Jan 2017. Further bleaching occurred in March 2017, but if you were to visit today you would still find these and many other species and wonderful sights.
Go there as soon as you can, because the future is uncertain. The Great Barrier Reef ecosystem is being tested by elevated sea temperatures as never before in living memory, like a vast, uncontrolled, unintentional scientific experiment.
The need for ongoing research has never been greater or more urgent. There is much more to know about the 600 types of coral on the Reef, their capacity to adapt and acclimatise to bleaching, whether there are any human interventions that could assist (see Basis for hope), and ways of protecting corals from excess populations of the Crown of Thorns Starfish. There is also much more to discover about countless thousands of non-coral species, many of which may become rare or extinct as a flow-on from the coral loss caused by bleaching.
We thank Delaware North, owners of the Lizard Island Resort, and photographer Alex Vail, for their permission to use these images. Scroll down and double-click on any of them to view a larger version.