(FILES) This file photo taken on November 20, 2014 shows an aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of the Whitsunday Islands, along the central coast of Queensland. / AFP / Sarah Lai
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Any major coal spill on Australia's Great Barrier Reef could kill some colorful corals within two weeks and stunt the growth of fish and seagrass, a new study revealed Tuesday.Kathryn Berry, who led the experimental research, said corals exposed to the highest concentrations of coal dust died within two weeks.The reef is suffering its worst bleaching in recorded history with 93 percent of corals affected due to warming sea temperatures.The huge ship gouged a three kilometer-long (1.8 mile) scar in the reef and was stranded for nine days before salvagers could re-float it.The transit of coal through the World Heritage-listed marine park was not, he stressed, the biggest threat to the reef.
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