This photo essay was created by Professor Justin Marshall,  Chief Investigator and Project Leader at CoralWatch. It provides a few graphic glimpses of how coral bleaching is affecting reef ecology.

Nemo is an Eastern Clown Anemonefish Amphiprion percula. This is his normal healthy habitat.

Nemo is an Eastern Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion percula). Here he is in a normal healthy habitat. © Andy Lewis

© Andy Lewis


Nemo’s home has bleached severely.

Losing Nemo

An octopus camouflages itself as bleached coral.An octopus camouflages its self as bleached coral

Beautiful but wrong.  Without its symbiotic algae, this coral’s underlying colour shines throughBeautiful but wrong 700

Even the massive ancient Porites corals are bleaching.Even the massive ancient Porites corals are bleaching

This is one of the reefs Justin Marshall dived with David Attenborough.  They did not see a single healthy coral all day from 0- 25m.One of the reefs

Loomis Reef at Lizard IslandLoomis Reef - Marshall700

More beautiful coral with almost total loss of symbiotic algae.More beautiful coral

Where will fish shelter when their coral home dies?Where will fish shelter?

Nemo’s cousins are in trouble too.Nemo's Cousins #1

Nemo's Cousins #2

Is this healthy coral for me to hide in?Is this a healthy

Fish can’t camouflage against white coralFish can't camou 700

Coral before bleachingBefore 700

Coral during the bleaching eventDuring 700

The Great Barrier Reef if bleaching continues (dead coral covered with algae)After 700

Even though this is sobering testimony on climate change, the Great Barrier Reef is still a place of great beauty and natural wonder.  Go there or revisit as soon as you can.