An undated handout photo received on May 30, 2016, shows dead coral in shallow waters at Cygnet Bay in Western Australia. AFP PHOTO / JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY / CHRIS CORNWALL
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Mass bleaching has killed more than a third of the coral in the northern and central parts of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, though corals to the south have escaped with little damage, scientists said Monday.Researchers who conducted months of aerial and underwater surveys of the 2,300-kilometer (1,400-mile) reef off Australia's east coast found that around 35 percent of the coral in the northern and central sections of the reef are dead or dying, said Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland state. And some parts of the reef had lost more than half of the coral to bleaching.Other reefs have suffered even more severely from the recent bleaching; Some Pacific islands, for example, have reported coral death rates of more than 80 percent, Eakin said.About 95 percent of the coral in the southern portion of the reef has survived.
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