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Dave_S 27-01-2019 20:07

The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
Just watched a documentary about coral bleaching.

They believe the coral dies because the bacteria that live in the coral that provide 95% of the needed nutrition. They say the bacteria are not able to survive the change in temp and release a chemical when stressed that the coral expells with the bacteria and die.

They are working on bacteria resistant to the heat change and new strains of coral that can survive. They believe the temperature will max out around the year 2050, they are trying and succeeding in creating coral and bacteria that can survive in the expected maximum temps.

Question is should they introduce them to the reef ?

They concede cross breeding corals will result in less coral variety and GM bacteria, ........ who knows what the outcome might be.

History shows the reef will come back, not sure when, or if it will in fact go, I suspect not.

Should we interfere, should we try to keep things the same or let them change.

Will this be another cane toad or crown of thorns mistake?

Tricky questions with unconfirmed premises.

Interested to hear thoughts.

JPA Cate 27-01-2019 20:33

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
I'm sure this is very old fashioned of me, but no, i think we should not interfere at the genetic level with ourselves, or nature, either. It is only a feeling, but humanity seems bent on doing every single thing it can, and it seems to me that there is the possibility to do undreamed of harm. So, I think we should not, but I expect we will.


Reefmagnet 27-01-2019 21:20

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
x2. Definitely not! Wanting to introduce a solution to a non-existent problem is just plain dumb.

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living organism on the planet, stretching over 2,600 kilometres in length and covering 344,400km2 of the ocean. It consists of 2,900 individual reefs, 900 islands and can be seen from space. It is home to 1,625 species of fish, 600 types of coral, 133 types of sharks and rays and 6 species of sea turtles.
The growth and evolution of the reef did not happen overnight. In fact, it is over 20 million years in the making. The reef as we know it today is built on the backs and bones of many millions of years of coral as the ocean levels have changed, islands have formed and land has settled.
The current formation that we know and love is about 6,000 to 8,000 years old and sits on the platform of a much older reef. The formation, location and depth have changed as the continental shelf and sea level have changed and will likely continue to do as sea levels change and the earth's crust shifts. The reef is always growing as it is a living organism and will continue to diversify and evolve as the years pass.
Our current reef began to form after the Last Glacial Maximum, or the peak of the Ice Age, when glaciers were covering most of the earth and sea levels were at a all time low. With sea levels 160 metres lower than they currently are and 20,000 years in difference, it is easy to understand why our current reef is so drastically different from where it began.
Most of the oceans' water was occupied in glaciers all over the world, drastically altering both ocean and land scapes. It was at this time that reefs began to form around islands that were created by a submerged coastal plain, formed by sediments of an eroding mountain range - The Great Dividing Range, Australia's largest. Reefs formed around these islands, but as the sea levels rose and the continental islands were submerged, they left behind coral formations with continued to grow. Those corals, which now sit alone out in the ocean, are what we know as The Great Barrier Reef. The reefs and cays that sit off the shores of Australia are the final evidence of long submerged mountains and islands on the former coast of Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef took many thousands of years to form as we know it today. It consists of three different types of reefs, including barrier reefs (reefs running parallel to shore with a lagoon between the shore and reef), fringing reefs (reefs that are close to shore, surrounding islands or hugging the coastline) and atoll reefs (a usually circular reef that surrounds a lagoon). The 2,900 individual reefs make up its entirety, which each continuing to grow and evolve with each passing day.

Paul L 27-01-2019 21:23

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
Not until they take care of the rabbits and foxes they introduced into the country.

Dave_S 27-01-2019 22:02

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
I understand thoughts on both sides, I guess I don't know enough about it.

I hate to think that we might loose a bunch of reef and I hate to think we might stuff it up trying to fix it.

We are experts at making a mess of nature and pretty poor at fixing it.

What I think does worry me is that a small bunch of people will make this decision, probably made up of a majority of people who have worked closely on these solutions and are passionate about the work.

Hardly the right people for the decision.

Wdlfbio 27-01-2019 22:20

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
Nature hates stability. Mankind strives for it. I argued with a science teacher about the concept of “climax community” (in essence, forests all end up old growth). If that was true, we’d never see new forests, young trees, shrubs, open meadows. Everything dies, things pop up in other places, etc. natural kills things off and creates new life. The more we muck with things, the more we screw things up.

GordMay 28-01-2019 04:19

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral

Originally Posted by Dave_S (Post 2812161)
I understand thoughts on both sides, I guess I don't know enough about it.
I hate to think that we might loose a bunch of reef and I hate to think we might stuff it up trying to fix it...

I also.

Coral reefs tend to be vulnerable to damage from warmer waters, but at least one coral species may be able to adapt to the higher ocean temperatures that may come with climate change.

Bacteria in certain microbiomes appear to help corals adapt to higher water temperatures and protect against bleaching, as shown by a KAUST-led research team.
Read more at: ➥

Scientists say good bacteria could be the key to keeping coral healthy, able to withstand the impacts of global warming and to secure the long-term survival of reefs worldwide.
Read more at: ➥

tp12 28-01-2019 04:31

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
On the plus side, we're getting new reef growing further south than ever before thanks to the water warming. Unfortunately, that also means irukandji jellyfish are coming further south.

SailOar 09-03-2019 19:20

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
Race to save the Great Barrier Reef

.....Coral bleaching is a natural event, and research indicates that bleaching has occurred many times during the reef’s existence. But extreme heat waves in 2016 and 2017 affected up to two thirds of the reef, and current extreme temperatures are likely to have similar consequences. However, other reefs can withstand conditions in warmer waters: the Red Sea is consistently warmer than the seas around the Great Barrier Reef, for example.......

Van Oppen’s work focuses on two techniques: assisted gene flow and assisted evolution. The first of these works by moving warmth-adapted corals to cooler parts of the reef; the northern extreme of the reef is routinely 1°C to 2°C warmer than the southern portion in summer. Corals are mobile in their larval form but, under normal conditions, larvae from the north do not travel south because the main ocean current that flows across the Pacific splits off the coast of northern Queensland, and flows are not favourable to north-south transfer. The researchers are experimenting with manually moving some of the northern corals south. If enough corals were moved, it could help heat-damaged reefs recover faster.

Assisted evolution is a somewhat more complex technique, which van Oppen described in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015 and in Nature Ecology and Evolution in 2017. “It’s artificial selection on steroids,” she said. Targeting both the coral host and its symbiotic zooxanthellae, it takes several different tacks to improving their resistance to stress, in this case from heat.

One way to do this is by a technique called stress conditioning. This involves exposing coral to heat levels that approach those that will cause bleaching, and to investigate, firstly, whether the coral can adapt to this and, secondly, whether it can pass those adaptations to further generations. Evidence for this exists in some plants and animals, but it is not yet known whether coral can be stress-conditioned. Van Oppen and her colleagues are looking at this technique in the National Sea Simulator (SeaSim), a marine research aquarium in Townsville, which can store more than 3.5 million litres of seawater and can carry out spawning experiments on many reef organisms simultaneously and over several generations.

Another approach is more typical to genetic engineering, involving creating hybrids by bringing together compatible eggs and sperm from different coral species. This is known to occur naturally in some types of coral, increasing genetic diversity and producing novel genetic combinations that may be useful in selective breeding. “It’s quite rare in nature, but not difficult to do under laboratory conditions,” van Oppen said. Working at SeaSim, the researchers are looking to hybridise multiple pairs of coral species during their annual spawning (a major and predictable event) and grow their young under controlled conditions to select for climate resilience, then crossbreeding strains to produce desired results exactly the same way that conventional husbandry has worked for many centuries in agriculture. Hardy specimens could then be transferred to the reef itself.

Yet another approach is one that is sometimes used in humans to give health benefits: probiotics. These are live organisms, generally bacteria, which can confer beneficial effects if they establish colonies inside their hosts. Coral contains several potential habitats where probiotic colonies could be established, including the layer of mucus that coats its surface, digestive systems and even its mineral skeletons. Van Oppen and colleagues, including Katarina Damjanovic, are trying to develop probiotics that could either help coral tolerate the heat better, or help it recover faster from bleaching events by creating a more hospitable environment for the essential zooxanthellae. “One thing that probiotics could do is mop up oxygen radicals that occur in water and are damaging to the living coral tissue,” van Oppen said. “One big advantage of this approach is that we could administer the probiotic anywhere on the reef.”.......

RaymondR 09-03-2019 23:14

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
The best thing to do is ignore the catastrophists.

In a lot of places the reefs you see rest upon old reef thousands of metres thick, they are geological eras old, and have survived.

During this reef building period the earth has gone through many warming and cooling cycles, and the reefs survived them all.

In addition sea levels went through many rise and fall sea level cycles hundreds of metres in magnitude, and the reefs survived.

The problem is not climate change, it changes all the time. The problem is people using the global warming theory to justify catastrophism.

Then other people use the fear generated by the catastrophism to justify meddling where we should not.

Our civilization has only evolved over about the last 10,000 years, the natural world we live in over about 4 billion and is still doing a fine job. Leave it alone.

I have no problem with us genetically advancing domesticated plants we use for food and fibre production but leave undomesticated nature alone.

Reefmagnet 10-03-2019 01:09

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
Yahoo for evolution. The 1/3 of corals that survived the last warming event will pass their genes onto future generations of corals that will, in turn, then become "warm resistant" versions of themselves.

No assistance required. Aint nature grand?

Which is good because our record in general with introduced species hasn't been that great in the past.

boatman61 10-03-2019 04:22

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
I think it is more mans impact than global warming.. most of the reefs in the Caribe have deteriorated and died as population along with tourism increased and fresh water spill off and pollutants have grown expotentialy.
Antigua in 65 was vastly different to today
Its a delicate balance.. coral does not survive in water below a certain salinity.. hence why most entrances into lagoons are by river mouths and rainwater spill offs.

SailOar 10-03-2019 05:23

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral

Originally Posted by boatman61 (Post 2844348)
I think it is more mans impact than global warming.. most of the reefs in the Caribe have deteriorated and died as population along with tourism increased and fresh water spill off and pollutants have grown expotentialy.
Antigua in 65 was vastly different to today
Its a delicate balance.. coral does not survive in water below a certain salinity.. hence why most entrances into lagoons are by river mouths and rainwater spill offs.

How coral bleaching threatens Caribbean communities

.......Climate change has fueled coral reef bleaching throughout the tropics, with negative consequences for reef ecosystems and the people who depend on them. A new study finds that in the Caribbean, independent island nations such as Cuba and Jamaica are less vulnerable to coral bleaching than island territories like Saint Barthélemy. .......

"We were surprised to find that independent islands have lower social-ecological vulnerability than territories," said Siegel. "Territories—such as the Dutch islands of Sint Maarten and Saba —tend to be left out of global assessments of climate change vulnerability, but our results suggest that they need to invest in improving their ability to adapt to environmental changes."

The study found that while independent islands are more exposed to environmental conditions that can trigger bleaching events, they are less likely to experience negative socioeconomic consequences because they are less economically dependent on reefs and are better equipped to detect and adapt to environmental changes. In contrast, the French territory Saint Barthélemy has very low exposure but experiences high overall vulnerability due to socioeconomic factors such as an economic dependence on reef tourism.......

boatman61 10-03-2019 16:15

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
Yeah.. more money in MMGW research than just saying its all the hotels, bars, cruise ships etc pumping 10 x 1000's of 20min fresh water showers a day into an ecosystem not designed to cope..

Puddleduck 10-03-2019 17:20

Re: The Great Barrier Reef- resistant coral
It’s the symbiotic algae zooxanthella that (most) the corals rely on to survive. Corals are susceptible to often lethal bacterial infections when stressed I.e high water temp. ‘Zoox’ expell themselves out of the corals when their environment is water temperature is too high. The zoox can drift and survive on ocean currents in the hope of finding a new coral host in better environmental conditions. Most zoox can’t tollerate temps above 27 degrees C for any period of time although there are some species (yep, different types of symbiotic algae) that can survive higher temperatures. Fore example the Red Sea water temperatures regularly go past 28 degrees and there are happy coral reefs there.

Im slightly more concerned about ocean acidification due to increased atmospheric CO2 for long term coral reef survival. Changing the oceans water chemistry to a lower pH makes it impossible for corals to calcify and grow their skeletons, meaning it’s physicaly impossible for them to evolve into their new environment as it’s against the laws of chemistry.

If there’s a chance of helping to save corals (and the 10,000’s Of species that rely on them for their survival....not to mention the millions of people (some of the most impoverished) who rely on them for their survival) by helping to make them more robust then I’m all for it... money well spent!!!

I haven’t watched the documentary but imagine what their talking about is allowing high temperature tolerant zoox to reside in different coral hosts not gm or any other witchcraft! And don’t for a minute think they’ll just chuck a few coral into the ocean and see what happens, there’s very strict guidelines in place for this kind of stuff.

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