Aug 19, 2019 | Updated: 08:55 AM EDT

New Discovery: 'Super Corals' that Thrive in Acidic Water

Jun 08, 2019 05:21 PM EDT

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Corals
(Photo : Tom Fisk)

The effects of climate change do not only affect the living conditions of those above water. It has impacts on the survival of those underwater as well. In fact, climate change has been disrupting the survival rate of coral reefs as coral bleaching is occurring left and right.

As humans continue to release greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the planet becomes warmer affecting the ocean water. Scientists have reported that the waters are now warmer and more acidic. The heat and the acid content in the water can create a dangerous combination that causes a lot of coral reefs in the world to die.

However, a recent discovery in Kane'ohe Bay in Hawaii shows some corals that can tolerate the warming of the waters and its rising acidity as well. The scientist calls the marine invertebrates "super corals." These corals are able to bounce back even after sewage contaminated the bay about thirty years ago. Scientists are hopeful that the discovery would help humanity understand how such resilience is possible in these corals.

"There is no saying that every coral reef or coral formations can be saved -- a lot of them have been destroyed permanently -- and it may become inevitable that the world loses all of them," said Christopher Jury, a marine biologist from the University of Hawaii. The jury is also the lead author of the new study. "If we work on reducing what causes climate change, we might be able to do something to give these coral survivors a chance."

Due to pollution and destructive human activity, more than half of the coral reefs in the world are dead. Overfishing and coral bleaching have all contribute to the lower quality of living conditions for the corals. Scientists pointed out that the corals are put under a lot of stress with the rising water temperature and acidity.

As waters become warmer, corals kick out the algae that are a major source of their food for survival. Many researchers on coral matters expressed their concerns about the survival of these species saying that if these conditions continue, it would only take a few decades to get all the corals in the world killed.

The new study shows that there are certain types of corals that are capable to survive such dangerous water conditions. The water in Kane'ohe Bay in Hawaii may not be the most ideal conditions for corals to thrive, but surprisingly, the waters in the area are teeming with coral life. "This is incredible news and certainly a valuable one knowing that this may show us the window to the future," Jury said.

"We still have a huge opportunity to save coral reefs around the world. We have to take action to fight climate change but we have to remember that this window of opportunity may be closing soon. By then, it might be too late," Jury added.

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