Australian Scientists Develop Heat-Resistant Corals
In an attempt to fight reef bleaching caused by global warming, a team of Australian scientists managed to develop a new type of coral that is more resistant to increased sea temperature in their lab. The scientists published their development in a peer-reviewed article in the Science Advances journal.
According to the German News Agency, coral reefs' decline has accelerated across the world in recent years due to climate change-related bleaching and other natural phenomena, as well as manmade problems.
Coral bleaching occurs when a natural phenomenon, like a rise in sea temperature or acidification, damages microscopic algae – living organisms inside the corals that provide them energy and give them their vibrant colors.
Scientists say if corals have increased heat tolerance, they would have the potential to reduce the impact of reef bleaching from marine heat waves, which are becoming more common under climate change.
The researchers were able to make corals more tolerant of temperature-induced bleaching by bolstering the heat tolerance of its microalgal symbionts – tiny cells of algae that live inside the tissue of the coral.