Crossbreeding To Help Coral Survive Warming Ocean Temperatures

by | Aug 25, 2015 | Corals | 0 comments

A new study finds that mixing corals of the same species from different latitudes could help coral reefs survive, despite ever-increasing warming ocean temperatures. Researchers from the University of Texas published their findings in the journal Science.

Promiscuous coral - Acropora papillare on Ningaloo Reef. THE AGE . news . OCTOBER 21, 2008 . pic by Natalie Rosser . story by Chee Chee Leung .

The researchers studied corals from warmer areas of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and those from cooler water in the South. The study found that those corals from warmer waters were 10 times more likely to survive elevated temperatures. Of even more interest, the study found that heat tolerance could be passed on. “Not only is heat tolerance heritable, but it’s highly heritable,” Matz said. Coral crossbreeding occurs in the wild naturally. However, the study found that scientists could speed up the process by 10 or 20 years by implementing crossbreeding of corals to pass along the heat tolerant genes. “What I think is the most viable strategy is simply to transplant adult corals—we make a reef and let then cross with the natural corals,” Matz told Reuters. With global warming and warmer temperatures harming our coral reefs every year, this is very good news. Although this will not solve all of the problems facing coral reefs, strengthening our corals will help fight the devastation that global warming has had.

  • Francis Yupangco

    Francis is a marine biologist with an MBA and over 20 years of professional aquarium experience. Francis is the former Aquatic Development Manager at Hagen USA., makers of Fluval brand aquarium products. He co-stars on Nat Geo WILD's reality TV series Fish Tank Kings where he is the resident "Fish Geek" and was Director of Marketing at Living Color Aquariums. He is an avid explorer having visited over 45 countries and lived in 7. At 17, he was among the youngest aquarists ever hired by the Vancouver Aquarium, where he worked for 7 years. His aquatic biology experience ranges from larval fish rearing to the design, construction and operational management of renowned public aquariums around the world. Francis is currently head of marketing at the world's largest vertically integrated fish farming company.

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