A study from Newcastle University has highlighted that some coral reefs in parts of the Pacific Ocean are becoming more climate-resistant to rising temperatures, thus helping to support much of the marine life that surrounds them. They are also a vital source of jobs and food, among other critical areas.
In order to draw their final conclusions, the researchers studied four different emission scenarios and how they could affect bleaching events in the future. They also took a deeper look at historic mass bleaching events. After some very careful studying, the researchers concluded that either genetic adaptation or acclimatization was the reason why some corals seemed to better resist mass bleaching events and increasing temperatures compared to others. Of course, this sparks hope that other corals across the globe may be capable of the same level of resistance.
The lead author of the study, Liam Lachs, stated the following: “We quantified a natural increase in coral thermal tolerance over decadal time scales which can be directly compared to the rate of ocean warming. While our work offers a glimmer of hope, it also emphasizes the need for continued action on reducing carbon emissions to mitigate climate change and secure a future for these vital ecosystems.”
Although the researchers emphasized the conditional aspect of their findings, advancements such as coral IVF and adapting coral species are also helping to support reefs in adapting to climate change. Combined, these advancements and findings could help pave the way toward a hopeful future for reefs across the globe.