coral tagged posts

Coral bleaching: Scientists ‘find way to make coral more heat-resistant’

Coral bleaching caused by climate change

Scientists in Australia say they have found a way to help coral reefs fight the devastating effects of bleaching by making them more heat-resistant. Rising sea temperatures make corals expel tiny algae which live inside them. This turns the corals white and effectively starves them.

In response, researchers have developed a lab-grown strain of microalgae which is more tolerant to heat.

When injected back into the coral, the algae can handle warmer water better.

The researchers believe their findings may help in the effort to restore coral reefs, which they say are “suffering mass mortalities from marine heatwaves”.

The team made the coral – which is a type of animal, a marine invertebrate – more tolerant to temperature-induced bleaching by bolstering the heat tolerance of its microalgal s...

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UNEP launches campaign on coral loss due to climate change


An interview with Richard Vevers, Chief Executive Officer of The Ocean Agency

In partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, the Ocean Agency has launched Glowing Glowing Gone, a creative awareness campaign that draws attention to coral fluorescence due to climate change.

Coral fluorescence, or “glowing” coral, is a last line of defense before coral dies and bleaches. The Ocean Agency worked with Pantone and Adobe to turn the warning colours of glowing coral into three official Pantone colours, to inspire action that everyone can use.

Through Glowing Glowing Gone, The Ocean Agency hopes to garner public support to inspire policy and funding to conserve coral reefs and save an ecosystem on which our entire planet depends.

Richard Vevers, Chief Executive Officer of The Oce...

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Palau is first country to ban ‘reef toxic’ sun cream

The Pacific nation of Palau has become the first country to ban sun cream that is harmful to corals and sea life. From Wednesday, sun cream that includes common ingredients, including oxybenzone, is not allowed to be worn or sold in the country. Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau said: “We have to live and respect the environment because the environment is the nest of life.”

The island nation markets itself as a “pristine paradise” for divers.

A lagoon in Palau’s Rock Islands is a Unesco World Heritage site. The country has a population of around 20,000 dotted across hundreds of islands.

The ban – which was announced in 2018 – prohibits sun cream containing any of 10 ingredients. The list includes oxybenzone and octinoxate, which absorb ultraviolet light.

The International Coral Reef Fou...

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The Future of Coral

Healthy Coral Reef

By any measure, the last 30 years have been utterly extraordinary. In less than one generation, our planet has changed faster than in all human existence. We have transformed from simple inhabitants of this world to the architects of its future. Nowhere is this more obvious than with tropical coral reefs.

I stumbled upon coral reefs on the shores of Arabia in 1982 as a 20-year-old. There my life changed forever in the moment I plunged from searing desert into the Red Sea, discovering myself surrounded by an impressionist riot. Fish as exotic as any jungle birds charged about purposefully, while others hung in roiling clouds above corals that plunged in petrified cascades into darkening depths. Reef life was richer, more prolific and urgent than anything I had seen.

For the next few years I...

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Trump administration sued over Hawaii’s cauliflower coral

cauliflower coral

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration Thursday for failing to protect cauliflower coral around the Hawaiian Islands, the agency said in a news release. The bushy, shallow-water species has been devastated by ocean warming triggered by human-caused climate change.

A strong marine heat wave is now hitting Hawaii’s coral reefs hard, and researchers predict massive coral bleaching and death, the released stated. Cauliflower coral coverage around Hawaii declined by 36% from 1999-2012, and current conditions are expected to worsen that decline.

“Cauliflower coral is like the canary in the coal mine of our warming oceans. Marine life around Hawaii will suffer without bold actions to protect coral reefs,” said Maxx Phillips, the center’s Hawaii director...

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Can this map save coral reefs?

With satellites the size of a loaf of bread — and some artificial intelligence — scientists and researchers are mapping the world’s coral reefs in an effort to conserve and restore the marine organism.

Since its launch this past October, the Allen Coral Atlas has grown to include data from coral reefs across six geographic zones. As the project approaches its one year anniversary, members of the Allen Coral Atlas team gathered at Vulcan Inc.’s Seattle offices on Thursday to present findings and look ahead at what’s possible with the bank of images and corresponding data.

The project is an initiative of Vulcan, founded by the late Paul Allen, who was an avid diver and witnessed the threats to reefs firsthand...

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Great Barrier Reef hard coral cover close to record lows

Great Barrier Reef

Hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef is near record lows in its northern stretch and in decline in the south, surveys by government scientists have found. A report card by the government’s Australian Institute of Marine Science says hard coral cover in the northern region above Cooktown is at 14% – a slight increase on last year but close to the lowest since monitoring began in 1985. A series of “disturbances” – coral bleaching linked to rising water temperatures, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and tropical cyclones – have caused hard coral cover to decline to between 10% and 30% across much of the world heritage landmark over the past five years.

Mike Emslie, the institute’s acting head of long-term monitoring, said the report included glimmers of hope: individua...

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Scientists search for coral’s new home


Coral reefs have long faced problems like overfishing, global warming and pollution—but they’re also threatened by how slow they regenerate. To reproduce, coral release sperm and eggs and form larvae, which then swim around and attach to a surface, where they begin to develop into coral polyps and grow. They face a variety of competitors, and most don’t survive. If they do survive, it takes years for the coral to be able to reproduce, and even longer for entire reefs to form.

Researchers at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) at the University of Illinois want to increase the rate of coral regeneration by creating a new home for coral larvae: artificial structures that encourage larvae settlement and discourage the growth of competitor species.

The research will be led...

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Coral reefs ‘weathered dinosaur extinction’

coral reef

Corals may have teamed up with the microscopic algae which live inside them as much as 160 million years ago, according to new research. The two organisms have a symbiotic relationship, meaning they need each other to survive. But this partnership was previously thought to have developed about 60 million years ago.

The new findings suggest that reef algae may have weathered significant environmental changes over time. This includes the mass extinction that wiped out most of the dinosaurs.

Algae’s resilience to temperature changes has been of concern to scientists recently, as warming events on the Great Barrier Reef have seen the coral “bleached” of its algae.

The study, conducted by an international team of scientists, aimed to explore the diversity of algae species co-habiting with co...

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Rare coral found off the west coast of Ireland

Rare coral found in Irish waters

Rare coral has been found in a deep sea research mission off the west coast of Ireland. Scientists from the Marine Institute in Galway found a black coral previously undocumented in Irish waters. 

The team of marine experts, who spent three weeks at sea, also spotted areas of potential sponge reef, previously only recorded in Canadian waters.

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