New study confirms coral reefs are adapting to warmer waters

London, 16 February – In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences scientists have discovered that some corals in the eastern Pacific are adapting to a warmer world by hosting more heat-tolerant algae.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that a 2 degrees C of warming would kill off 99 percent of global corals. However, the new study “shows that there are some unusual reefs that may be able to survive for several decades as a result of their ability to shuffle symbionts,” Andrew Baker, a marine biologist at the University of Miami and coauthor of the research, said in a statement.

“While we don’t think that most reefs will be able to survive in this way, it does suggest that vestiges of our current reefs may persist for longer than we previously thought, although potentially with many fewer species,” Baker said.

new report recently published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), using official data from all over the world, found that there is no statistically significant reduction in global coral reefs since reliable records began two decades ago. In fact, for the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s biggest reef system, a record breaking high coral cover has been recorded.

Dr Peter Ridd, one of the world’s most eminent coral researchers, said

“Scientists are being suspiciously pessimistic about the future of the worlds reefs, even when they find wonderful news such as this latest study from the Eastern Pacific. Why are they constantly peddling such doom?”

Peter Ridd: Coral in a Warming World: Causes for Optimism (pdf) 


Dr Peter Ridd
[email protected]