A recently released study brings new hope for the salvation of coral reef formations. This paper presents the discovery and research results on the so-called “super corals”. Such structures were noted to be able to survive in otherwise extreme environments for their kind.
This new study is the result of a collaboration between the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the International Research for Development, Noumea (IRD). Research results are now available in the journal Scientific Reports.
Super Corals, Living On the Edge and Thriving
Back in 2016, a scientific expedition traveled to a remote lagoon system discovered in New Caledonia. This was noted to house a varied community of reef-building corals, capable of living in the system’s extreme conditions. But not only that, these super corals first adapted and then started thriving in their unexpected habitat.
The area has hot, low on oxygen and acidic waters that have been associated with mangroves. As it is, the super corals renewed hope that such formations could still be able to adapt and exist in the warming global waters.
“The existence of corals living under this usually deadly trio of conditions, comparable and even exceeding what is predicted under climate change, gives us new hope that some corals will be able to persist into the future,” states Dr. Emma Camp.
She is one of the researchers part of the mission and a marine biologist at the UTS. Dr. Camp points out that the existence of the super corals indicates potentials future reef management options. She states that these could help “support proactive management options”. Ones that could help increase a reef’s resilience.
Now, Dr. Camp and her colleagues are planning to take a closer look at the Great Barrier Reef. An area deeply affected by bleaching, the scientists will be looking to detect reef-neighboring mangroves. In doing so, they are hoping to find super corals in such areas as well.
Still, the researchers acknowledge that this is in no way a quick fix solution for the problems encountered by coral reefs and their ecosystems.
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