Coral Breeding: Scientists Attempt to Reinvigorate Great Barrier Reef

What if one day, the approximately 3% of freshwater on our earth went down to 1%? What lengths would people go to just for survival? A study revealed that from 2009 to 2018, about 14% of the coral in our world died. Now scientists are doing everything in their power to help revive reefs around the world. Some of these scientists are focusing their efforts on the Great Barrier Reef located off Queensland, Australia. 

Although there are many different ways scientists can help the coral, one major way to help coral thrive is breeding. One of our world’s treasures, the Great Barrier Reef, has turned into a struggling ecosystem. The reefs that make up the coast are the heart that keeps many of the organisms alive. Climate change is one of the reasons why scientists and researchers have to find a way to help the coral. Coral bleaching events that occurred in 2016, 2017, and most recently 2020 have left a significant mark on parts of the coral where it was too hot for too long and eventually withered away. Marine ecologist Dr. Peter Harrison and his team of graduate students work near Black Island reef off the Australian coast, where many of the adult breeding corals have died. This left the production of larvae to drop rapidly. Peter and his team are trying to preserve the reef with the larvae cultivation operation. Dr. Peter and his team collect some of the coral spawn and carefully transfer everything they collect into floating larvae culture pool; these larvae become ready to settle. His team will watch and document the progress of the larvae until they are ready to be spread out into the reef, find a place to settle, and grow. However, this is only one way that his team is helping the spread of coral reefs. Back in 2016, approximately 30% of coral coverage dropped.

So how does this affect people and communities? Well, not only does it serve as a place for organisms to live and thrive, but reefs also act as natural barriers to keep the ocean tame. Reef structures buffer shorelines against storms, waves, and floods. In other words, reefs help protect lives, homes, and coastal properties from natural disasters. If these reefs were absent, the amount of destruction near beaches would surely increase. In order to keep these structures, people who visit beaches should take care of their trash and watch what they do. Coral life depends on us, and animals, as well as people, depend on them.

Scientists and researchers all around the world are doing their best to help revive the coral that makes up our oceans. Researchers are also trying to find a way to breed heat-tolerant coral. However, people can help as well just by making good choices at beaches and coastlines. People on land depend on coral reefs just as much as all the organisms in the ocean do.