What we are living are sad times for the coral reefs. The ocean waters are currently warming up, there are lots of disease outbreaks, pollution, together with sedimentation, some destructive fishing practices, and careless scuba divers. Moreover, there are plenty of local and global stress factors that decimate the coral population at rates that were never seen before.
Is There Any Silver Lining?
If we were to find a silver lining, that would be the fact that these disturbances are acute. What does that mean? This means that they appear just for a short period of time, after which they disappear. Moreover, the corals can recover before the next disturbance appears. However, since all these stress factors are more and more frequent, humans may need to take up an active role in their recovery.
How to Help the Corals?
Many organizations are currently involved in various efforts of restoring the corals to the damaged reefs. However, some approaches they take are more successful than others. This means that we need to be creative when we ask ourselves what we can do.
One of the most successful processes consists of collecting fragments from wild corals and then attaching them to the ‘nurseries’ in clear water that have ideal conditions for growth. Some groups choose to grow corals on PVC structures, for example, while others use old reef rocks, wire stands, or cinder blocks. Within a year, there is a tenfold increase in the number of corals.
However, this is just one example of how people can help the corals survive these hard times. There are many other processes people use, and the future of these colonies depends on us. Moreover, it’s time for scientists to combine the solutions they have so that they can obtain better results. It remains to be seen how quickly they will act.
Patrick Supernaw is the lead editor for Great Lakes Ledger. Patrick has written for many publications including The Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Patrick is based in Ottawa and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe hockey addiction, Pat also enjoys kayaking and can often be found paddling the Rideau Canal. Contact Pat here