Wednesday, March 27, 2019

rebuilding coral reefs

Currently there is research going on in order to save the coral reefs. In Science Magazine, Warren Cornwall describes the research Madeleine van Oppen has been doing for a few years now in order to genetically change coral so that it is able to withstand higher seawater temperatures. A lot of the coral reefs around the world are dying due to global temperatures rising and an increase of carbon dioxide in the water. It is estimated that the seawater temperatures will increase another 3°C by the year 2100. One of the many problems the researchers at National Sea Simulator face is that coral only spawn once a year. Once the coral spawns, the eggs only survive a few hours if they aren't fertilized by sperm giving researchers a limited window of opportunity that only comes once a year.

It's very sad to read about how much coral we've already lost from The Great Barrier Reef as well as other reefs around the world. This research isn't just to genetically alter coral so that they can survive the increasing temperatures but also to find the stronger corals, ones that are able to survive the warmer water and coral bleaching, and continue to reproduce those in order to rebuild the reefs. There has been success with this research but not enough to stop the decay of the reefs.


  1. as someone who studies marine biology and fishes constantly, this article deeply saddens me. Coral reefs are essential to marine wildlife and a marine ecosystem for protection of the animals, nutrient recycling of the environment and protecting our coastline from our storms! Since global warming does not seem to be getting better, also shown by the article, I think this is a huge problem. I hope that marine biologists find a way to maximize the sperm of the reefs to help us help them!

  2. Coral reefs are a natural beauty and such a big part of sea life. I am glad there are scientists that are able to change how the coral can grow and live to sustain other sea creatures lives.