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Scientific fails and the Great Barrier Reef

By Peter Ridd - posted Friday, 2 February 2018

Well actually the first instance of bleaching was discovered on the very first scientific expedition sent to the GBR from England in 1929. The likely reason that we see more bleaching now than in the 70’s or 60’s is that there are hundreds of times more scientists looking. Science institutions only started on the reef in the late 60’s.

It took until the 1980’s for them to discover mass coral spawning which is when every coral on the GBR releases its eggs in one night causing spectacular slicks on the surface which can be seen from space. But nobody would claim that spawning never occurred before the 80’s.

So mass coral spawning is a wonder of nature, but mass coral bleaching is because you drove your car to work causing climate change. Any wonder why people are starting to distrust scientists.


There is no way that all the science of the GBR is wrong, but if it is like other areas of science such biomedical science, then we can bet that about half is wrong - we just don’t know which half. But this “science” is affecting every major industry in NQ, and the bad publicity about the reef is scaring away tourists. It is about time the science establishment, the Chief Scientists, the Royal Society, and the directors of science institutions grasp the nettle rather than pretend all is well.

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Peter Ridd is in court currently fighting moves by James Cook University to discipline him for criticising research on the Great Barrier Reef. He is raising funds for his defence. If you believe in the scientific method and the need for integrity in public institutions please donate to his campaign by clicking here. Peter has uploaded details about his legal action as well as his criticisms to

This article was first published in The Courier Mail in an edited form.

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About the Author

Peter Ridd is a Reader in Physics at James Cook University specialising in Marine Physics. He is also a scientific adviser to the Australian Environment Foundation.

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