Source: Flickr. While every person has a unique packing list for a day by the water, there is one item that is ubiquitous in preparation for swimming, fishing, boating, and more: sunscreen. Sunscreen is so inherent to our concept of…
Many threats face coral reefs today, from coral bleaching to storms to boats and anchors that break fragile coral branches. But all hope is not lost - corals are capable of regrowth. Recently, a great deal of research has gone into understanding coral resiliency.
Corals take at least several decades for regrowth and it is a slow and steady process. Naturally, it is important for coral to have evolved the ability to rebuild and regrow because natural disasters like storms and variations in fish grazing happen all the time. The problem now is how corals can regrow in the context of human-caused environmental change.
Global Weirding: The Coral Catastrophe
Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea. Full of diversity and severely endangered, corals play a very similar role in reefs to the role of trees in rainforests. Corals provide a backbone for the most lush, colorful, and productive ecosystems on the planet.
For humans, reefs buffer shorelines, provide homes for important fisheries species, are important tourist destinations, and can provide novel medicines. According to a study done in 1997, the economic worth of coral reefs adds up to approximately $375 billion each year, even though reefs only cover 1% of the earth’s surface. Yet all of this value is at risk under the influence of climate change.