Corals- how much do we really know about these animals often mistaken for plants or rocks? Did you know that they support up to 25% of the marine life? Which also means that the tourism industry and the fishing communities heavily depend on healthy coral reefs. This is just one of many significances of a coral reef which is even more interesting since they only occupy less than 0.1% of the ocean’s entire surface area. Today nobody is oblivious to their beauty and yet their beauty never ceases to surprise anyone who gets to witness them in the wild.
I fell in love with these mysterious creatures only during one of my 70+ dives. I’m sure you are wondering why it took me so long to really appreciate them. You see I used to only enjoy their aesthetics because there was just so much I did not know about them. But one class changed everything. I learnt so much about corals that it completely changed how I looked at these supposedly simple looking organisms which in reality are really complex, intelligent and fascinating beings. Knowledge can do wonders!
Needless to say that over the decade corals have been subjected to several external factors causing their decline all over the globe. Global warming being the most pressing factor today and with the IPCC report of 1.5◦C, scientists and marine biologists have come up with innovative ways for better and more effective coral reef restoration.
One of them is turbo-charged corals or coral IVF. This experiment was carried out during the spawning seasons at the Great Barrier Reef which has already lost over 50% of its coral coverage. The eggs and sperm were collected during this period of spawning after which their larvae were co-cultured with zooxanthellae. This process makes sure that the baby corals will grow faster and better, not just this but by growing them in a lab they possess a higher thermal tolerance.
Professor Peter Harrison from Southern Cross University, who discovered these mass spawning events 38 years ago claims that Coral IVF technology could serve as a blueprint for reef restoration efforts around the world, with global warming and rising sea temperatures posing an increasingly ominous threat to these natural ecosystems.
Another very unique and yet not very surprising advancement has been through the help of music! It has been found that by playing music, not just any music but playing the sounds of a healthy coral reef ecosystem around the dying ones that helps rejuvenate them. Yes, music does have healing powers!
At TRF we might not have access to such resources but that does not stop us from doing our bit for the marine ecosystem. With programs on artificial reef building, dive against debris, reef monitoring and so on, we make sure that our backyards are healthy and beaming with life!
The internship at TRF will expose you to all these aspects of marine conservation and more! You definitely don’t want to miss out.
Want to do your bit for the oceans? Come join us!
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