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Global warming may cause coral reefs to migrate south

Global warming may result in tropical corals migrating south, Australian scientists say. The western seaboard between Perth and Geraldton could end up with coral reefs as rich and varied as the celebrated reefs of Ningaloo in the north-west. The conclusion comes from fossil evidence of what happened in West Australian waters during a warm phase in the global climate 125,000 years ago. With oceans warming again due to the greenhouse effect, the rich, diverse northern corals are likely to spread south again, travelling on the Leeuwin current, in search of places to survive global warming and avoid impacts such as bleaching and coral disease which occur when tropical waters warm too much for them to tolerate. WA has suitable shallow habitats for tropical corals to settle in, whereas south of the Great Barrier Reef there are few suitable areas for corals to move south. "The water is mostly too deep."

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