Marine Threat: Coral Bleaching
Marine Threat: Coral Bleaching
Consultant: Edward Perello
Academic & Industry Experts: John Carlin (Fincasters), Philip Cleves (Stanford University), Jamie Craggs (Horniman Museum), Craig Downs (Haereticus Institute), James Deutsch (Vulcan), Ruth Gates (Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology), Gator Halpern (Cora Vita), Mary Hagedorn (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute), Petra Lundgren (Great Barrier Reef Foundation), Kristen Marhaver (Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity), Chris Meckley (ACI Aquaculture), Caroline Palmer (University of Plymouth), Stephen Palumbi (Stanford University), Stephen Ranson (Coral Vita), Forest Rohwer (San Diego University), Sam Teicher (Coral Vita), and Madeleine van Oppen (Australian Institute for Marine Science)
Pictured Above: Bleached coral on the Great Barrier Reef. As average sea surface temperatures around the world continue to increase, so too do the frequency and extent of global bleaching events.
The impact of human development and increased ocean temperatures are causing frequent and widespread global coral bleaching events and die-offs. Coral reefs are declining at an average global rate of 1 – 2.5 percent per year, but some reefs are declining at considerably faster rates. Fifty percent of the planet’s corals have been lost already, according to the most recent estimates, and models predict around 90 percent will be lost by 2050. Even more worrisome – there is no global plan to deal with the failure of biotic reef infrastructure and maintain coral reefs beyond 2050.
Based on interviews with coral biologists pursing the development of state-of-the-art technologies for coral resilience and restoration, our findings below highlight seven essential innovations for coral conservation. Several teams around the world are focused on the science mechanics of coral restoration, while others are working to understand and harness elements of resilience that occur or develop naturally within threatened coral species. These efforts are helping to guide the preservation of resilient coral genotypes remaining on reefs, the translocation of more resilient strains within a reef area, and the ex situ efforts to preserve and grow corals in aquariums.
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