It’s no undisclosed that coral reefs are in danger. Scientists predict that almost all of the earth’s reefs will be endangered by 2050 if existing levels of greenhouse gas emissions remain.
The changes are now happening: Three-quarters of coral reefs are now exposed to man-made problems.
Climate change, definitely, is one of the main crosiers. It makes oceans warmer and more acidic, failing the calcium carbonate that systems a coral’s skeleton.
Temperature variations can cause corals to emit the symbiotic algae that live inside their tissues, where they provide vital nutrients and also give corals their lively hues.
This effect, known as “coral bleaching,” clarifies why unhealthy corals turn a spectral shade of white.
Subsequently, in an ever-warming world, are corals – and the marine ecosystems and coastal communities they support – completely downhearted? Maybe not.
A new study of more than 2,500 coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans found that most of the reefs had been damaged by previous mass bleaching events, but not beyond repair.
Another 17% had minimal bleaching between 2014-2017 and were healthy and thriving.
“The good news is that functioning coral reefs still exist, and our study shows that it is not too late to save them,” said Dr Emily Darling, the lead author of the study and the head of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s global coral reef monitoring program.
The study, which appears in the journal “Nature Ecology and Evolution,” was supported in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Vibrant Oceans Initiative.
More than 80 marine scientists contributed to the study and suggested three strategies for managing coral populations.
There needs to be global action to mitigate the effects of climate change, as well as an intervention on a smaller, local scale, according to the study’s authors.
As Dr Georgina Gurney of James Cook University explains, “While coral reef sustainability depends largely on reducing carbon emissions, identifying reefs that are likely to respond – to build the well-being of the millions of people dependent on coral reefs across the globe.”
But sometimes the healthy corals are the ones that could use our protection the most. After all, it’s easier to prevent future harm than it is to deal with the consequences of neglect.
When coral reefs are properly managed and endangered, a square kilometre of the tropical reef can produce 15 tons of seafood per year.
There are financial paybacks at stake, too. According to a White House climate report from last year, the U.S. is likely to lose $140 billion by 2100 as climate change causes destruction on coral reef recreational activities.
But as the Indo-Pacific reef study demonstrates, it doesn’t have to end badly. Decisive global action, coupled with protective measures on a local level, can ensure that corals have a bright and vibrant future in our oceans.
New research warns climate change may devastate nearly all of Earth’s coral reef habitats by 2100.
“Around 70-90% of coral reefs are likely to disappear in the next 20 years because of warming oceans, acidic water, and pollution, said scientists from the University of Hawaii Manoa.
Still, a few ecological activists and coral reef researchers are working closely on the restoration of coral.
Also, they have tried to grow live corals in a lab. Then they put them back into aquatic environments to restore dying reefs.
But these initiatives are not adequate to save Earth’s coral reefs.
The new study made ocean demography that would suit this kind of coral restoration. Factors like acidity, water temperature, human population density and fishing frequency were in consideration while making this demography.
Unfortunately, existing ocean parts where coral reefs live today won’t be healthy by 2045.
Only a few sites will be viable for the restoration of a coral reef by 2100, like portions of Baja California and the Red Sea — even these aren’t suitable territories for reef because they’re close to rivers.
Cleaning up the beaches and battling pollution are praiseworthy. But we need to continue those efforts.
But tackling climate change is really what we need to be advocating for shielding corals.