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Researchers create a new guide for saving corals in a warming world



As much as half of the world's coral has disappeared since 1980. And global climate change threatens to wipe out what remains of these various and important ecosystems, of which one quarter of all marine species and up to 1 billion people around in the world depends.

Recognition of the enormity of the crisis, a team of scientists issued a new framework Wednesday to help world leaders give corals a chance to survive. The report, from a committee of national academies of science, technology and medicine, assesses a number of radical tools that can help build the resilience of the reef, and it provides a drawing to determine how best to intervene.

The report emphasizes that human intervention can "buy time" and show the key to the reef remaining in the next century, but that it is not a substitute for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the planet.

Solving the climate crisis is "the only way the corals go to thrive in the long term," said Stephen Palumbi, committee chairman and a marine biology professor at Stanford University at a public briefing Wednesday in Washington, DC

a series of threats, including pollution, overfishing and damage from coastal development. The report, however, focuses mainly on ways to protect reefs from bleaching, a phenomenon in which heat-stressed corals become white after they have eradicated their algae, giving most of the energy of coral pipelines . If it is not allowed to recover from stressors, the animals may lose. Mass bleaching events triggered by affordable sea temperatures in recent years resulted in major deaths along Australia's major barrier reefs and elsewhere.

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70-page report is the second of two published by the [12659007] 12-Person Committee which held its first meeting in February 2018. The Interim Report, released in November identified 23 radical intervention strategies [19659007] many of them experimental, which could make corals more resistant to the effects of climate change. These tools include everything from relocation and genetic manipulation of coral species to the use of antibiotics and spraying of salt water into the atmosphere to shade and cool reefs.

<img class = "image__src" src = "https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/5d0121942500004e12dc7083.jpeg?ops=scalefit_720_noupscale" alt = "A diver checks a pale coral reef in French Polynesia in May 2019. [19659016] Alexis Rosenfeld via Getty Images

A diver checks a pale coral reef in French Polynesia in May 2019.

Some techniques are available for use now, while others will probably not be ready for implementation this year or decades, according to the new analysis. For example, selective resistance and selective rearing and pre-exposure of corals to warmer water are used to build heat resistance. But it can be decades before genetic manipulation and atmospheric shading develop and proven tools.

"Although all these interventions pose some risk, the risk of doing nothing is increasing year by year," committee member Nancy Knowlton, a rebel biologist and former Sant marine marine president at the Smithsonian Institution, said in a statement enclosing the report's Wednesday edition. .

The ground temperature has already risen 1.1 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. If the planet heats 1.5 degrees Celsius, the reef may decrease by 70 to 90 percent warned the United Nations in a sober report last year. That figure could climb to 99 percent at 2 degrees Celsius of warming.

For nations and conservation managers who want to take action, the report gives a detailed path to assess the risks and benefits of implementing one or more initiatives. The amount of degradation, water quality and reef placement on other coral sites is among the many factors that should be considered when deciding whether the tools are suitable for use, the committee concluded.

The report places particular emphasis on local engagement, long-term monitoring of reef health and the importance of taking an "adaptive" approach that allows leaders to change strategies when they go.

"The science of coral reef intervention is still young, and particular environments can react to them in different ways," Palumbi said in a press release.