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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Super Coral...a Super Hero?

Super Coral...a Super Hero?

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, May 26, 2017/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, marine life, sustainability, environment, climate change, Archive Pick of the Week

     

                  Exposed Coral Reefs, Kimberely Region, Western Australia (credit: Verena Schoepf)

Like a movie super-hero arriving to save the day, could a 'super coral' that tolerates increasing ocean temperatures, water pollution, and climate change exist? The discovery of resilient corals would come none to soon considering the destruction happening with coral bleaching on coral reefs everywhere. Research conducted by Verena Schoepf working in partnership with the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) offers some hope. Her studies in Western Australia are in their early stages but show promise.

Schoeph and her colleagues determined that corals in the Kimberley region have some tolerance to high water temperatures. The research has determined that the corals there are adapted to high water temperatures but are still susceptible to bleaching. However, the bleaching threshold for these corals is ~90 Fahrenheit, more than 3F above normal in the summer. The key to this tolerance appears to be fluctuating water temperatures that enhances bleaching resistance. The potential exists for further acclimatization or adaptation beyond the conditions currently seen in Western Australia.

 

Some of the new coral research findings have been published in Nature Reports.

While it would be nice to think that a movie-style super hero coiuld come to the rescue of reefs. A heat tolerant coral certainly won't hurt but  multiple actions will be needed to save and restore reefs worldwide. Controlling air and water pollution are central to the task.

WHB

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