Monday, April 11, 2016

Multi-pronged Approach

Coral bleaching, Thailand 2010 (NOAA photo)
Warming oceans endanger coral reefs, but not because heat kills coral directly [bold added]:
Bleaching occurs when corals respond to the stress of warmer temperatures by expelling the colorful algae that live within them. Some coral are able to recover, but too often the coral dies, and the entire ecosystem for which it forms the base, virtually disappears.
Reversing the rise in ocean temperature is extremely costly, if not impossible, so British scientists are exploring another method of keeping the coral alive: increase the supply of algae that can survive at higher temperatures.
the algae inside the Persian Gulf corals were in fact a different species from that commonly found in other parts of the world. It was this species’ ability to tolerate extreme heat that appeared to be crucial for its hosts’ survival.
Solutions to global warming have focused on cutting back carbon-producing activities. A multi-pronged approach would include ways to mitigate warming's effects, such as building higher sea walls, planting drought-tolerant crops, developing efficient solar energy.....and breeding higher-temperature algae.

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