More than 25% of all the species found in the oceans live in the vast habitats provided by stony corals, which act as the core of a diverse and complex ecosystem. New data infers that stony corals spread across the world seem to enter the survival mode as they anticipate a mass extinction event.
A team of international researchers traced as series of actions that tend to be associated with a survival mode, with a similar behavior being associated with the last mass extinction event, which took place 66 million years ago according to the new study.
According to one of the researchers, the results were quite surprising since, during the first stages of the research, the actions did not seem to be so dire. The team had access to a rich selection of data related to the history of corals, including the factors that contributed to mass extinction and mass bleaching effects. This data was compared to information gathered from the observation of modern corals.
Hundreds of Coral Species Are Threatened Due to Ocean Warming
About 840 coral species can be found on the red list of threatened species that are regulated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Scientists were interested in the traits that managed to withstand the last major extinction event. Many people associate corals with the colorful wavy constructs that they are seen quite often in documentaries, but they are quite sensible.
Resistant corals will tend to form small colonies in low water, and they seem to thrive even in the current climate. Recent studies have shown that coral reefs spread across all over the world are facing severe problems. A massive heatwave endangers the Great Barrier Reef, and bleaching events ravaged many smaller reefs between 2014 and 2017.
More actions should be taken to prevent global warming, and the destruction of essential ecosystems, events that could bring severe consequences.