Daily Climate discusses how coral reefs get their genetic revolution. Using genetic tools, it’s now possible to predict which corals will survive bleaching events.
Scientists have concocted many schemes to save coral reefs from climate change. Assisted migration. Selective breeding. Manipulating the coral microbiome.
Many of these conservation techniques are risky and unproven, but the stakes are high; the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that with a 2˚C increase in global temperatures, 99 percent of corals will be lost to bleaching.
“We are desperate,” Mónica Medina, a coral reef biologist at Penn State University, told EHN.
There’s a glimmer of good news. A new study published yesterday in Science offers a new roadmap for coral conservation using the tools that have revolutionized our understanding of the human genome. With cutting-edge genetics, it’s now possible to predict which corals will bleach and which ones won’t.