The news would have its readers believe that we’re in the end times – that climate change has reached the point of no return and the world is on the brink of nuclear wear. Unfortunately the hopeful and inspiring stories tend to pass by far too quickly, but if you look for them, they’re always there. Some are the result of years worth of work, research and investments, while others come about simply by accident.
Take the Great Barrier Reef, for instance. Coral reefs account for a measly 1% of the entire ocean on planet Earth. Despite the miniscule amount of surface area they cover, coral reefs provide food and shelter to one quarter of all marine life. Reefs also support marine life that ends up in the human food chain, feeding a whopping one billion of us.
Thanks to a little thing called “bleaching,” about two thirds of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has been killed off due to a rise in temperature, thought to have been brought on by global warming. The statistics are alarming.
Thankfully, and completely by accident, Dr. David Vaughan from the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida, may have found a way to reverse that devastating loss.
Coral ordinarily takes 25 to 75 years to reach sexual maturity, meaning it can take up to six years to plant 600 coral. This fact alone is one reason the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef is so alarming. But thanks to Dr. Vaughan, we may be able to help coral grow forty times faster!
The Good News Network describes Dr. Vaughan’s accidental discovery:
“He had been trying to remove a coral from the bottom of a tank when it broke into a dozen pieces. To his shock, all of the pieces regrew to the same size in just three short weeks, as opposed to the three years it had taken to grow the original coral.”
The process of fragmenting coral to encourage regrowth is nothing new. In fact, the process has been around since the 1960’s. According to a former intern of Dr. Vaughan’s, this new approach differs greatly in that Dr. Vaughan “has been essentially adjusting the coral frag[ments] to more acidic and warm water to better prepare them for our changing climate.”
“This is now a new discovery that can give real hope for our coral reefs that has never been there before,” Vaughan told BBC One. “We tried [this process] with all the other species of corals in the Florida Keys and it works for them all.”
An accidental discovery is giving new hope for coral reefs.BBC Earth
Posted by BBC One on Monday, October 22, 2018
This new method as been so successful that researchers are reportedly producing coral faster than they can acquire new takes to put it in.
Vaughan and his team plan on planting 100,000 corals in the Florida Reef by 2019.
It should be noted that, while Dr. Vaughan discovery is great news for the Great Barrier Reef as well as other reefs struggling to survive throughout the world, speeding up their rate of regrowth only serves to buy conservationists more time and puts a bandage on the greater issue.