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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Coral Recovery?

Coral Recovery?

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, December 16, 2017/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, marine life, sustainability, environment, climate change

                                                       Coral Propagation Tanks (credit: YouTube)

Is there any hope to save coral reefs? Answering that is an existential question since it affects one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth.

Besides natural ecological functions like providing storm damage control and nurseries for young fish, coral reefs are also drivers of economic opportunities for island and coastal communities offering seafood and tourism wherever they are found. The severe damages (coral bleaching) experienced from increased ocean temperatures and a recent el nino weather event, offer painful examples of an entire ecosystem facing collapse. An ecological 'tipping point' may have been crossed on many reefs in 2016 and again this year. At this point the situation looks rather grim and discouraging.

However, small signs are emerging that indicate that portions of Australia's Great Barrier Reef may have naturally higher heat tolerance and could re-grow. These resilient corals, now being dubbed super coral, offer hope and their regrowth is closely being monitored. Other efforts based on scientific information and research data from marine biology, coral genetics and breeding, aquaculture, and coral transplantations offer additional and exciting hope if the results can be scaled-up.

Three research perspectives are offered on the potential opportunities for coral reef restoration.

While these reef restoration efforts may appear dependent on institutional or university investigators, there are plenty of opportunities where 'citizen science' can help in extending their work. If you live near the ocean, marine researchers can always use extra do the corals!



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