Saving coral reefs from catastrophe

Among the most beautiful sights in Nature, coral reefs will vanish unless something is done – but what?

Coral bleaching is coming at us at an accelerating rate, threatening a quarter of the fish in the world.

“But 1998 marked the first global bleaching event. It killed 15% of corals. Between 1998 and 2010, there were more than 3,700 regional bleaching events.
“They’ve gone up by a factor of ten,” says Hagedorn. “And we’re not slowing down our carbon dioxide emissions. If anything, it’s just going right on up…..

The leitmotif of this dystopian coral-free world is depletion. Marine life and fisheries would collapse. Natural defences against hurricane-fuelled waves and tsunamis would be lost. Land would be eroded, with some islands sinking into the surrounding seas, giving rise to ecological refugees looking for new places to live. “That’s the big picture,” says Gates. “It is just a recipe for disaster.”

The woman with a controversial plan to save corals

We have used selective breeding to create new dog breeds and improve crop yields. Could it also help corals survive the ravages of climate change?

By Alex Riley
22 March 2016
Ruth Gates saw it time and time again. While surveying coral reefs of Caribbean in the late 1980s, she noticed that many corals were clearly stressed, sapped of their colour. Some faded to skeletal white.
The trigger was always a sudden surge in ocean temperature. Some corals reacted by ejecting the algae that live within their tissues and usually provide them with colour and nutrition. The process is aptly known as coral bleaching.
But it was not the bleached corals that piqued Gates’s curiosity. It was the fact that the corals growing next door to the death-white colonies were often still colourful, vibrant and healthy.
Separated by just a few centimetres, how could two corals be worlds apart when it came to their response to warming?

Click for rest
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *