Coral reefs, often referred to as “the rainforests of the seas,” are currently facing a variety of threats from ocean warming and acidification, overfishing, pollution, and overall climate change. Coral reefs provide homes for many species, more than twenty-five percent of marine life, and are at risk of becoming extinct themselves.
While many researchers, like the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine are attempting to recover and sustain our current coral reef issue, a new resolution of providing greater diversity of coral species on reefs may be a good solution to help corals survive and flourish.
A biodiverse ecosystem that contains many different species, is often far more resilient to changing conditions and could be the answer to this coral reef crisis.
According to Cody Clements, a marine ecologist, “scientists have found that ecosystems with more diverse foundation species – those that define a system and are inseparable from it, such as trees in a forest – tend to be healthier and function better.” He is now attempting to apply this idea to coral reefs.
He is trying out this hypothesis in a reef area on the southwestern coast of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, located in the South Pacific where the coral reefs there have been heavily damaged by overfishing and other human0related activities.
“Our team created 48 concrete plots on the seafloor of the degraded reef, which served as the bases for experimental coral gardens,” Clements writes in an article from The Conversation.
Coral reefs are in trouble, yes, but now is not the time to give up on saving them! Hopefully, the power of biodiversity and advanced technologies can help give these corals a fighting chance for survival!