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How Corals Will be Affected by Climate Change

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Coral reef experts from ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) recommend the urgent need to study how corals will respond to earth’s changing climate and environment if they can adapt or acclimatize with it.

The scientists believe that there is a need to come up with solutions to help the corals adapt while finding ways on how to reduce, stop, and reverse the impact of climate change.

The advice emanated from the coral mortality that occurred in the Great Barrier Reef due to the back-to-back mass bleaching in 2016 and 2017 and increasing carbon footprint. Coral reefs serve as shelter, food, and habitat for an undersea ecosystem, that their loss will cause not only a decline in reef diversity but also the collapse of the entire ecosystem.

The team, led by Dr. Gergely Torda, recommended eight research topics in an article published in the Nature Climate Change journal, and their focus is on understanding the mechanisms the corals will use to adapt to climate change.

“For example, recent studies show that fish can acclimatize to higher water temperatures when several generations are exposed to the same increased temperature, but whether corals can do the same, and how they might achieve this, is largely unknown,” explains co-author Dr. Jenni Donnelson.

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