The Great Barrier Reef has chlamydia… but science reckons it could actually be a good thing
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The Great Barrier Reef has chlamydia… but science reckons it could actually be a good thing

I heard it also has crabs!

The Great Barrier Reef should’ve used a Great Big Condom as scientists discovered the iconic Aussie ocean spot has chlamydia. 

Basically, they found that loads of the coral clusters in the reef have been infected with a bacteria that causes chlamydia. It’s not the chlamydia that us humans get, but a very similar, closely related infection. 

Dr Justin Marie, the leader of the team of scientists who made the discovery, was a bit “surprised” at the finding, but added the clap is pretty common out in the wild. 

“It is not necessarily the downfall of the coral,” he told Yahoo News. “There is a wide range of chlamydia in the environment that can infect anything from amoebae to humans, to koalas, and a lot of them are actually not pathogenic.”

If you’re a big skinny dipping fan and fear you may be infected, don’t worry about it. Dr Marie said it would be rare for you to catch chlamydia from the coral. 

“I would say it’s quite unlikely. It's a big jump from the marine environment to the human environment. I would say you can sleep soundly.”

Scientists also think chlamydia can be a good thing for the reef. Basically, the waters the reef lives in have increased in temperature due to global warming. When the water gets hotter, coral becomes stressed and sheds off the colourful algae that live on top of it. This turns the coral white, hence the name ‘coral bleaching’.

Coral bleaching is very bad for the huge ecosystem that relies on reefs as the removed algae is a vital source of nutrition, without it, the coral will eventually die. 

According to New Atlas, the scientists believe that the chlamydia bacteria could help the coral become more resistant to increases in temperature and thus bleach less, though more research needs to be done

In these crazy times we’re living in would you honestly be surprised if chlamydia was the thing that solved global warming?