Master of Competition
& Public Choice Award
Picture of the Competition Award
Opal Reef was thriving when it was photographed by Taylor Simpkins on 6 October 2015 in the foreground image. By 31 May 2019, the corals in the same area had bleached, died and become overgrown with algae as a result of the 2016 and 2017 mass coral bleaching events on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. A further decline in coral health was observed during another bleaching event in 2020. Although sections of the reef are still thriving, the overall outlook for this site was recently downgraded to “critical” in the latest assessment cycle by the IUCN due to climate change impacts.