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Good News for Coral Reefs Amidst all the Bad Effects






We have constantly been hearing how a number of factors are playing together to harm the coral reefs around the world and bringing a majority of coral species under the threat of extinction. We here is a recent news that claim pollution from agricultural fertilizers and sewage can save corals. High levels of nitrogen and phosphorous cause coral disease and bleaching, but a three-year study in the Florida Keys shows that when pollution stops, the reefs recover in an amazingly short time. Those reefs are known to recover in just 10 months.

This study was published in Global Change Biology and is the first to show the effect of nutrient overloads and split them from other grounds of reef extinction, like global warming. With frequent injections of nutrients at study sites, levels of coral disease and bleaching pitched. Within a year of those injections being closed, the reefs bounced back to their earlier levels.

“A combination of increased stress and a higher level of pathogens is probably the mechanism that affects coral health,” says Rebecca Vega-Thurber, assistant professor at Oregon State University’s College of Science. “What’s exciting about this research is the clear experimental evidence that stopping pollution can lead to coral recovery. A lot of people have been hoping for some news like this. Some of the corals left in the world are actually among the species that are most hardy. The others are already dead. We’re desperately trying to save what’s left, and cleaning up the water may be one mechanism that has the most promise,” she says.

Unlike global warming, nutrient loading can be quite effortlessly introduced by superior sewage treatment and best-management practices that minimize fertilizer runoff.

Few days back was the “Greatest Sex Show on Earth, when the coral in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef spawn under the full moon. The coral releases so many sperm and eggs that when they float to the water’s surface they can be seen from space since vast areas of the Pacific Ocean turn red.

Scientists captured billions of sperms and eggs which they will freeze cryogenically in the world’s biggest sperm bank. Some will be preserved for hundreds and possibly thousands of years in the hope of sometime in the future restocking of reefs. Some will be used for research on enhancing coral’s toughness and capability to acclimatize to altering conditions, and others will be used in a grand experiment to synthetically inseminate existing reefs, growing new coral. Scientists from Scotland are known to be testing robotics technology that can patch up damaged corals.

A nursery at Australia’s Marine Science Institute is being developed to nurture baby corals and to test ways of reintroducing them to the reef, as found in a news report. They look forward to to grow reefs “in-vitro” and then seed wild reefs. This is one of their efforts to preserve the species of corals under threat and to give them back to the natural reefs.