Searching for corals where they shouldn’t be found has become an urgent quest for marine biologist Dr Emma Camp. As the impact of climate change on the world’s coral reefs grows in frequency and intensity, the options for reef management are becoming more and more limited.
Scientists such as Dr Camp, a member of the Climate Change Cluster (C3) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), think hope lies in identifying “hot spots” of coral resilience.
In 2016 an expedition to a remote lagoon system in New Caledonia yielded surprising results. A diverse community of reef-building corals had adapted to thrive under extreme conditions – hot, acidic, low-oxygen waters associated with mangroves – and showed there may be a way for corals to adapt and survive in a warming world. The discovery, a joint venture between UTS and International Research for Development, Noumea (IRD), was recently published in Scientific Reports.
“The existence of corals living under this usually deadly trio of conditions, comparable and even exceeding what is predicted under climate change, gives us new hope that some corals will be able to persist into the future,” Dr Camp said. “These could indeed be the super corals of the future that will help support proactive management options attempting to upgrade reef resilience.”
Read the full story on the super corals at the UTS Newsroom