New breakthrough to save coral reefs

21 May 2018

Written by: Jessica Micallef

A new coral has been discovered which could help see the end of bleaching.

Scientists may have found the answer to stop coral bleaching after discovering a new coral species on Australia’s north west coast.

Known as the Staghorn coral, it is native to the Kimberley region in Western Australia, with a tolerance to high temperatures, and can thrive in conditions that can kill other corals.

Doctor Verena Schoepf has been researching why the coral is so robust, and is hoping one day it will help restore reefs that are being bleached by rising water temperatures.

“I’m trying to find out how they have become so heat tolerant,” she told Nine News.

Her research team in Perth have been exposing the coral to high temperatures for different amounts of time, with some coral subject to a quick heat shock, while others face warm conditions over a few days.

Dr. Schoepf is confident that her findings are positive and the coral’s continuous exposure to extreme conditions only strengthens its ability to survive.

However, coral experts say there still needs to be more work done to help protect coral reefs against climate change.

“Coral reefs give early warning of mega catastrophes that have happened in the past in the oceans, and they’re giving warnings of that now,” marine expert Doctor Charlie Vernon said as reported by Nine News.

“Coral reefs are the first to go under and then the rest of the oceans follow, then you have mass extinction.”