A lack of freshwater supplies has been blamed for the fall in turtle species in the Great Barrier Reef and other parts of the world.
The coral reef, one of the most spectacular sights in the world, was among the first to be hit by bleaching after the effects of climate change, which has affected coral ecosystems worldwide.
Turtles have suffered from climate change for hundreds of years and are already at risk of being wiped out by climate change.
Turtle populations have been falling in the Western Pacific Ocean, a marine environment which has seen unprecedented bleaching in recent years, with species such as the spotted turtle and the northern spotted turtle showing their worst decline yet.
The Great Barrier and Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) said the numbers of turtles in the park had fallen by 80 per cent since 1990, as a result of “disruptions in coral reefs” and the “decrease in the abundance of fish and shellfish”.
“The reef is not protected and its impact on the local communities has been significant,” the authority said in a statement.
“The reef, and the Great Barra Reef, is in the process of being de-cloned by the Government of Queensland, which is leading the recovery effort and will be in place by the end of the year.”
The reef was also hit by “loss of habitat due to increased ocean temperature”, the authority added.
Drinking water supplies are key to keeping populations in check, and scientists have said it’s important to conserve water in the oceans for the health of the species.
“The Great Barre reef is home to an important ecosystem, with over 700 species of reef animals, some of which are critically endangered,” the GBRRMPA said.
“Conserving drinking water in this area is critical to the survival of these animals, and will also reduce the impacts of climate disruption on reefs.”
The organisation also warned that the loss of habitat could lead to “a major population decline”.
It said there were already signs of a trend for populations of other species to drop.
The world’s oceans are covered by a layer of dead, decomposing algae called the deep water, which contains nutrients and water.
As the water is saturated, it cannot survive on the surface, so the algae decomposes into waste, leaving behind toxic compounds.
These compounds are then inhaled and deposited on land and in the marine environment, where they can become harmful to the health and wellbeing of people, the GHRMPA said in its statement.
Tests conducted by the GCRP last year found that a large percentage of species in Australia were in decline.
“Turtles are an important species in their ecosystem and are important to their survival,” the statement said.
“However, a loss of water supply could affect many other species, including the turtles themselves.”
The GBRRPA said that a lack to replenish drinking water was “likely” in parts of Australia, where there is an increasing number of people who drink contaminated water.
“There is evidence that drinking water supply may have changed over time due to human-caused climate change,” the organisation said.
The GCRMPA also said that the decline in turtle numbers was the result of the “disruption in coral reef communities”.
“Corals are a key part of our environment, with up to 70 per cent of our coral reef being exposed to seawater,” it said.
Tuna stocks have also been affected by the bleaching, with scientists finding that the numbers are “significantly lower” than normal.
“Although we do not yet have a clear picture of what is driving this decline, we can say that the Great Barbary Reef is experiencing a significant decline in shellfish stocks due to climate change.”
The coral reefs in the Northern Territory and South Australia have been hit particularly hard by bleached coral, but the reef in the Southern Hemisphere has seen the most coral bleaching.
In the Northern Hemisphere, there have been two major bleaching events, one in 2009 and one in 2010.
In Australia, there were two major coral bleachers, one each in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The most recent bleaching was triggered by the effects a large storm, known as the Northern Snowball, which struck the country in December, 2011.
The storm caused massive flooding in the north, where more than half of Australia’s reefs were located.
Tropical Storm Mitch in 2010 was also a major factor in the decline of coral in the North.
However, the coral bleached in the Gulf of Carpentaria in March, 2011, after a strong El Niño, caused the reef to lose more than 80 per, of 100, of the reefs in its range.
The UK’s Great Barrier reef was the second-worst affected by bleaches in the northern hemisphere.
The Northern Isles, including Ireland and Scotland, had the worst coral bleaches.
“A recent ble