In recent years scientists have figured out how to grow coral in labs and have been working to transplant them onto damaged reefs. This approach has been rather successful in helping restore parts of reefs that were damaged by coral bleaching.
Scientists are actively evaluating the conditions of the coral reefs and its surroundings in order to identify possible threats and determine the best approach towards resolving them.
Scientists are actively looking into various different approaches to prevent further bleaching and ways to restore damaged coral.
There are a number of ways you can also contribute to this cause, even if you aren't actively working and researching to find a solution.
One of the more recently developed ways of restoring coral is the transplantation of lab grown coral. In 2019, an aquarium in Florida was able to successfully spawn pillar coral in their coral "greenhouses." Following this breakthrough, scientist have been able to successfully grow certain types of coral and implant them back onto damaged reefs. This has proven to be one most effective methods of restoring coral and has brought scientists and researchers more time to find a permanent solution.
In addition to transplanting lab grown coral, various reef restoration organizations, such as The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, have taken various measures to prevent further damaging of coral reefs. NOAA works with a number of groups on restoration activities and focus on improving the habitats of where the corals settle. This helps prevent the further damaging of reef habitats and prevents avoidable losses of coral.
The Coral Restoration Foundation is one of the leading groups that are working on restoring damaged coral around the United States. They are based in the Florida and offer various opportunities for people to get involved in restoration efforts.
Scientists and researchers all around the world are closely monitoring the current condition of coral reef ecosystems to make sure that they make the best decision when working with the coral. It is important for people to stay updated on the situation. They do so through the use of various technologies and a number of different techniques.
There are a number of environmental factors that have an impact on reef ecosystems and influence the behavior of coral and various reef organisms. One of the most important of these factors is the temperature of the ocean. The rising temperature of ocean water stresses the coral and it releases its symbiont zooxanthellae, which produces almost all of the corals food. This results in the bleaching of coral. In addition to this, another environmental concern is the increasing pollution in the ocean. Sediments and other pollutants tend to smother reefs and prevent further reef growth which can be detrimental to the survival of the reef. Pollution can also make corals more susceptible to certain diseases and prevent some corals from reproducing. By keeping close tabs on these factors, scientists can't help limit the effects of these threats, and sometimes completely prevent them.
There are number of reef organisms that scientists use as indicators of both the condition of the coral reefs and of the ecosystem as a whole. These organisms are unique in that they are highly sensitive and respond to changes in the environment. By monitoring these organisms for changes in behavior and population scientists can detect when something is wrong in the reef system. One of the most common indicator organisms is the butterflyfish, which can be found on coral reefs all around the world. They typically occupy shallow reefs and are in high populations when the reef is healthy. A large decline in butterflyfish population more than often means that the coral reef in unhealthy. In addition to organisms such as the butterflyfish that directly indicate the condition of the reef, some organisms are used as indicators of environmental factors. For instance, giant clams are used as indicators of aragonite or dissolved calcium levels as they are dependent on the calcium for shell growth. Thus, using certain organisms as indicators and keeping track of them scientists can quickly figure out if something is wrong and can more accurately determine where the source of the issue is.
Various organizations employ some of the latest technology in monitoring coral reef ecosystems. Perhaps the important piece of technology that is used is the satellites. NOAA's Coral Reef Watch program uses a variety of satellite technologies to monitor the oceans temperature, as well as elevated sea surface temperatures. Satellites are also used to detect algae blooms which can smother coral reefs. Along with satellites, scientists also survey reef communities to collect data on certain locations. This is mainly done through scuba divers who use a variety of tools, such as transect lines, to evaluate a certain reef location.
There are a number of ways you can help contribute to this cause even if you aren't an expert in the field.
Getting Educated + Raising Awareness
One of the easiest ways that you can help contribute to preserving coral reefs is to be come educated about the situation. By learning more about coral bleachings and becoming familiar with the issue you can help raise awareness.
Become More Environmentally Friendly
The oceans temperature and acidity is rising as a result of climate change and global warming. It is important to be conscious of what is causing these changes and there are a number of ways you can help preserve the environment. It is important to stay away from chemically enhanced pesticides and fertilizers as they have the potential to contaminate water based ecosystems. It is also important to reduce any sort of pollution as pollution is a threat all ecosystems, not just to marine ecosystems.
In addition to helping spread awareness, you can actually help participate in various activities and volunteer work that involves working with experts. The Coral Restoration Foundation, for instance, offers both land and in water volunteering opportunities. On land volunteers can help provide outreach or even help make coral trees. If you have diving experience, you can also be a dive volunteer and help with nursery work and monitor the health of corals that have already been outplanted.
Research a Solution
If you are really passionate about this issue you can even help research a potential solution to coral bleaching. This involves familiarizing yourself with what research has and is currently being done. By reaching out to experts in the area you can develop your knowledge and have the potential to help resolve this issue.
Any donation, small or big, helps with coral reef preservation and restoration efforts.