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‘Super Corals’ Are Resilient To Climate Change, Scientists Discover

Written by Hannah Osborne

Scientists have discovered a population of “super corals” that appear to have become resistant to extreme environmental conditions—being able to survive and thrive in hot, acidic and low-oxygen waters.

And they now plan to search for more climate-adaptable coral populations within the Great Barrier Reef.

An international team of researchers first found the super corals during an expedition to a remote lagoon in New Caledonia in 2016. Their “surprising results” showed the lagoon had a diverse community of reef-building corals that had adapted to live in extreme these conditions.

Publishing their findings in the journal Scientific Reports, the team was investigating coral reef health in relating to climate change. As oceans get warmer and more acidic, vast swathes of coral species suffer. This has been documented globally, with a recent report from the Australian Research Council showing two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef had been affected so far this year.

Coral bleaching occurs when waters are too warm. These conditions make the corals expel the algae living in their tissues—causing them to lose their color. Algae provide coral with 90 percent of its energy, so while this process does not kill it, it places the coral under far greater stress and puts it at greater risk of death.

As global temperatures increase, scientists are increasingly concerned about how coral reefs—which form barriers protecting shorelines from waves and storms and provide ecosystems for a vast number of species—will fare.

Read more in Newsweek

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