The Blog Aquatic

Donate Today

The Blog Aquatic

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

An Island of Hope for Coral Reefs

Posted On January 8, 2013 by

Dr. Stephen Palumbi checks transplanted corals during climate change studies. Credit: oceansciencenow.com/wp/photos/

I’m accustomed to getting bad news about the state of the world’s coral reefs, but this week there’s some good news for a change.

Scientists have just released findings from their research in American Samoa on especially tough species of corals that are adapting to warming waters and may be resisting climate change.

In a new paper published by Ocean Conservancy board member Dr. Stephen Palumbi and other scientists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the scientists found that some reef-building corals are resistant to the stress of warmer waters that cause coral bleaching.

While studying corals in American Samoa, researchers found heat-resistant corals can survive damaging temperature increases by switching on a set of 60 genes before the stress has occurred. Heat-sensitive corals switch these genes on after stress has already occurred. This means that some corals have the ability to withstand future increase in ocean temperature.

DNA sequencing can offer broad insights into the differences that may allow some organisms to persist longer amid future changes to global climate.

Continue reading »