Deep coral could rescue the reefs
WILL the deep reef?
A team of researchers led by Museum of Tropical Queensland (MTQ) has revealed that corals living in deeper reefs could be vital in the global effort to save shallow coral reefs.
During the 2016 bleaching event in the Maldives, MTQ’s Coral Collection Manager Dr Paul Muir and a team of experts from Australia, New Zealand and Maldives studied bleaching effects in 192 coral species living in water depths of three to 30 metres.
“We found great variation in the effects of bleaching between species, and overwhelming evidence that coral bleaching reduces as water depth increases,” Dr Muir said.
“We believe deep corals which are less susceptible to bleaching may be essential in minimising species extinctions and providing coral larvae to reseed damaged shallow reefs.”
Dr Muir said the team was pleased to find some corals appeared to be adapting to increased water temperatures.
“Contrary to current belief, susceptibility to bleaching can vary quite widely within closely related coral species,” Dr Muir said.
“We discovered some highly resistant corals within three species normally considered very vulnerable to bleaching which suggests a small number of species may be able to adapt to rising sea temperatures.” inherit the