Cyclone Larry, which has hit Queensland, has done little physical damage to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and may even do it some good. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland says the cyclone has cooled the waters and may prevent coral bleaching this year.
Coral bleaching is when corals lose their colour, due to the loss of their symbiotic algae. These algae provide the coral with nutrients and many corals die after a bleaching event. (Some manage to attract new algae and recover.)
A major factor in coral bleaching is high water temperature.