Our coral reefs have long been facing the threat of coral bleaching as a result of climate change but new research from James Cook University is giving our beautiful assets a glimmer of hope.
Some baby corals have surprisingly been found to cope with the negative effects of ocean acidification, a process that occurs as a result of increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
Study lead author Dr Aurelie Moya says researchers exposed baby corals from the Great Barrier Reef to acidified seawater for varying lengths of time and examined how they responded at a molecular level.
“We found that, whereas 3 days of exposure to high C02 disrupts formation of the coral skeleton, within 9 days the baby corals had readjusted their gene expression to pre-exposure levels,” she said.
“These findings suggest that baby corals have the capacity to acclimate to elevated carbon dioxide.”
Dr Moya says the findings are the first step towards understanding how reef building corals adapt to environmental stress and future studies will investigate other stressors.
[img source] The Open University (CCA 2.0) bit.ly/1wCr6Pl