Aussie Scientists Freezing Coral to Protect them From Climate Change

Essay by Eric Worrall

Coral survived the dinosaur killer, the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, and the Quaternary Glaciation. But apparently we must spend millions on cryo-storage to protect coral from anthropogenic climate change.

Freezing Great Barrier Reef coral could be a ‘game-changer’ against the threat of climate change

Scientists working on the Great Barrier Reef have successfully trialled a new method for freezing and storing coral larvae, which they believe could help rewild reefs threatened by climate change.

Key points:

  • Cryogenically frozen coral can be stored and later reintroduced to the wild
  • Scientists say a new lightweight “cryomesh” can be manufactured cheaply
  • The technology could be a “game-changer” and help restore the reefs in the future, researchers believe

The reef has suffered four bleaching events in the last seven years, including the first-ever bleach during a La Niña phenomenon, which typically brings cooler temperatures.

Mary Hagedorn, a senior research scientist at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, said it was a “game-changer”. 

“If we can secure the biodiversity of coral … then we’ll have tools for the future to really help restore the reefs and this technology for coral reefs in the future is a real game-changer,” she said. 

Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-19/great-barrier-reef-frozen-coral-trial-/101790380

Maybe they should check the water supply in the Smithsonian?

Coral will outlast humans, it doesn’t need our help. While the adult form of of Coral is immobile, every year corals produce billions of microscopic free swimming larvae, which seek out new locations to colonise.

There is no plausible level of global warming or increased CO2 which could make the world uninhabitable for coral. The organism which survived the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, 5-8C hotter than today, has nothing to fear from a few degrees of anthropogenic warming.

Oh, that final catastrophe I mentioned that coral had survived? The Quaternary Glaciation, which started 2.58 million years ago, is still happening today – and the coral is doing just fine.

via Watts Up With That?

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December 20, 2022 at 12:56AM

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