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Coral reefs “the rain forests of the sea” have survived thousands of years of natural change. However, with rising temperatures, over-fishing, coral mining, and pollution, it is no surprise that reefs all over the world are becoming endangered. The beautiful reefs occupy only .2% of the ocean, yet are home to a quarter of all marine species: crustaceans, reptiles, seaweeds, bacteria, fungi, and over 4000 species of fish make their home in coral reefs. Additionally, coral reefs have an annual global economic value of $375 billion, providing food and resources for over 500 million people in 94 countries and territories. Fortunately enough, scientists from around the world are doing their best to protect coral reefs…
- Rearing endangered coral species in laboratories to replant in reefs: Scientists in the Caribbean have managed to grow coral in a laboratory to reproduce in the wild for the first time. A study published in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science has revealed how the method was successfully used with Elkhorn coral around the Caribbean island of Curaçao. The coral was grown in a laboratory from cell samples collected in 2011 by the conservation group Secore International and then replanted in to the reef a year later. Reports indicate that the coral is now the size of a soccer ball and has reproduced at the same time as neighboring naturally grown coral.
- NASA analyzing the world’s coral reefs: Space organization NASA has stepped in to try and protect what’s left of the world’s coral. They are organizing a three-year field expedition to survey endangered reefs in Florida, Hawaii, Palau, the Mariana Islands and Australia. The COral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) will measure the reefs and create a database so that changes can be monitored. It is hoped that the new data will allow scientists to create a quantitative model that will show why and how reefs are changing because of environmental conditions.
- Using assisted evolution to create “super coral”: Since rising temperatures are considered to be one of the biggest threats to the world’s oceans, scientists in Hawaii are trying to create a “super coral” which is capable of resisting higher temperatures. The team from Hawaii has been collecting samples to slowly expose them to warm and more acidic water, raising their ability to survive stress.
- Cross breeding to pass on heat-tolerant genes: Scientists in both Australia and the United States have come up with another method to try and create coral that can tolerate rising sea temperatures. Research led by Mikhail Matz from the University of Texas studied coral in the Great Barrier Reef and coral from 300 miles south where the water was cooler. The research indicated that coral from the warmer water was 10 times more likely to survive temperature rises. Furthermore, they also discovered that when coral from the two locations were cross-bred the genes for heat tolerance could be passed on.
As a yacht charter company Nicholson Yachts realizes the success of the business is based on the health of the oceans. Our President & CEO Karen Kelly Shea is an active member of several environmental organizations throughout the country that serve to protect the world’s oceans. In fact, we were the first charter company to add the following clause to our contracts:
“The YACHT discourages single use water bottles and provides excellent desalinated, purified and filtered tap water. The YACHT also discourages the yacht of micro plastics in bath gels, facial scrubs, etc. due to their direct impact on marine life”.