The coral reef crisis continues thanks to threats like climate change and
pollution. With that in mind, the National Academy of Sciences
major report last week detailing the high-tech interventions
that may be necessary to stop the damage and save the coral
The report — commissioned by the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration — outlined two different ways to save
coral. One focuses on engineering the coral, and the other involves
wild interventions like freezing coral embryos and sperm to
preserve biodiversity and then
thawing them out in the future. None of the solutions in the report
are close to being ready, but the report reveals the urgency of the
“We’re losing reefs so fast,” said Mark Eakin, the program
manager of Coral Reef Watch. “It is so critical that we do
everything we can to keep coral reefs alive and healthy.”
Some ideas of geoengineering include pumping cooler water from
the depths of the ocean to create artificial shade to cool the
Another idea is to alter seawater’s chemistry to make it less
acidic. This would include solutions like planting seagrasses to
make the ocean more alkaline.
As for the freezing of coral embryos and sperm, scientists have
done this successfully with 16 species of coral, but there is a high
risk that the freezing process could damage the cells.
Since 1980, coral reefs have declined up to 50 percent
in oceans around the
world. As the planet warms, the problem will only worsen. This is a
life and death situation for the coral as well as the millions of
people whose livelihoods depend on coral reefs.
The report from the National Academy of Sciences is one of the
most comprehensive of its kind, and an expected follow-up will
offer resources to put these ideas into action.
Image via 2Photo Pots
Source: FS – All – Ecology – News 2
New innovations in geoengineering are needed to save the coral reefs