18 Oct 2019 - Warmer ocean temperatures can damage corals and eventually even kill them, so climate change poses a grave threat to coral reefs. But a recent study suggests it’s not time to despair. It’s time to act.
“The key thing that we found is that there is hope for coral reefs,” says Malin Pinsky of Rutgers University. His research team modeled how corals will fare under different warming scenarios.
“And what’s new about what we did is that we considered the fact that corals can actually evolve a little bit,” he says. “(They) can actually evolve higher tolerance for temperatures as time goes on.”
But he says that slow process will only be possible if coral ecosystems are protected from other threats such as overfishing and pollution.
So he says it’s critical to create protected areas where fishing is limited and pollution is controlled. Pinsky says that as oceans warm, the next 50 or 100 years look grim.