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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Reef Restoration Technologies?

Reef Restoration Technologies?


Coral Propagation (credit: YouTube)


Is there any hope to save coral reefs? Answering that is an existential question as it affects one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, often referred to as "rainforests of the oceans".

Besides natural ecological functions like providing protection from storms and as nurseries for young fish, reefs are also drivers of economic opportunities for island and coastal communities. They provide food and tourism wherever they are found. Severe damages have already occurred from coral bleaching as increased ocean temperatures and el nino weather events have damaged corals. Whitened skeletons offer painful examples of a marine ecosystem facing collapse as reefs look dead. It is possible that tipping points may have been crossed are recovery may be hard to accomplish.

However, signs are emerging from Australia's Great Barrier Reef where naturally heat tolerant corals have been observed. These offer hope for regrowth if they spawn and re-populated bleached parts of the reefs. Such resilient corals are being dubbed super coral and are being closely monitored. Other efforts based on scientific information and marine biology research, coral genetics and breeding, aquaculture, and coral transplantation provide more opportunities if the results can be expanded to reef-wide scale.

Three examples of coral technologies are presented for wider restoration efforts.

While these coral restoration efforts may appear dependent on institutional or university investigators, but opportunities exist for citizen science to become involved and help extend these promising results. If you live near the ocean, marine researchers can always use extra field do the reefs!


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