Featured Image Credit: www.healthfreedoms.org
By Sarah Sharkey
Coral reefs around the world are on the decline, unfortunately, that is not news to most of us. The die-offs started back in 1982 and have gotten worse over time. Huge patches of the once vibrant reef are now dead. A variety of factors caused this, but the two biggest killers seem to be heat stress and ocean acidification.
Researchers around the whole are racing the clock to come up with a solution before the last of the coral leaves this world. From Florida to Australia and everywhere in between, researchers are working to find resilient coral, figure out why these particularly hardy specimens have survived and replicated its success across reefs worldwide.
A leader in the charge is the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida. Their president says “We created these problems. We have to get actively involved in helping the corals come back.” This program is making huge bounds in helping heat stressed reefs recover through culturing and “replanting” coral on reefs that have been affected by higher temperatures. Some people question the ethics behind the essential acceleration of evolution that is engrained in this process, but as of now, there seems to be no other alternative if we want to save the reefs before it is absolutely too late.
The research being done shows that it is possible to save these reefs, but a huge effort and commitment from scientists and citizens alike will be needed to make long-term success a reality.
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