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Could pumping cold water save coral reefs ?


Posted on Sunday, 9 April, 2017 | Comment icon 11 comments

Coral reefs are being wiped out by rising temperatures. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Acropora
A plan to pump cold water on to coral reefs to stop bleaching has been met with significant criticism.
Bleaching occurs when consistently high temperatures cause coral reefs to expel their symbiotic algae - a process which turns them deathly white and from which many do not recover.

The problem has been getting continually worse in recent years thanks to global warming which has been destroying vast swathes of previously healthy coral reef due to rising ocean temperatures.

Now in a new bid to save at least some of the most important areas of coral reef, the Reef and Rainforest Research Center has joined the coral reef tourist industry to propose a controversial solution that would involve pumping cold water up from below to reduce the water temperature.

"With the amount of bleaching that we currently have, the reef is going to change, that will affect the number of species that actually survive," said managing director Sheriden Morris.

"While this is highly localised, it may have the benefit of maintaining some complex communities in the face of some of the pressures that the reef is facing."

Not everyone however is convinced that such a solution would be effective or advisable.

"We should be taking broad-area results," said former Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority director Jon Day who has described the plans as "ridiculous".

"But instead we do these sort-of band-aid, small localised scale things, which in terms of trying to maintain tourism sites might actually work, but we're going to actually lose the whole reef."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (11)

Tags: Coral Reef, Bleaching

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by quiXilver on 9 April, 2017, 15:45
How Wolves Change Rivers... is a fascinating documentary that shows how nature balances itself rather quickly when humans mingle less in the process and withdrawa their activities from an area.
Comment icon #3 Posted by pallidin on 10 April, 2017, 20:00
I've heard that the general biostasis of coral reefs are, in very large part, dependent on water temperatures. Much like home gardening can be positively or negatively affected by temperature.  
Comment icon #4 Posted by DanL on 11 April, 2017, 18:04
Isn't that sort of thing the opposite of allowing nature to be natural? If the reef can't live then it is time for it to die. This is common throughout time. Heck, the Guadalupe Mountain range in west Texas is actually a fossil reef. I guess if they had been around back then they would have wanted to build a dam around them and pump sea water in to keep it alive. I don't think that is the "natural" way to let nature go. Reef, like all living things, live for a finite period and then die. THAT is just the way it is. No matter WHAT the cause is, the if climate get warmer things have to adapt or ... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by seeder on 12 April, 2017, 2:24
Parrot fish eat coral.... maybe thats part of the answer?    
Comment icon #6 Posted by ChrLzs on 12 April, 2017, 6:36
While I agree that's a pretty dumb idea for a variety of reasons, it's probably worth considering the issue a bit more seriously.  Them oceans cover 71% of the earth, and their eco-systems can be rather important to not only our economies (tourism, fishing, etc), but the entire well-being of the planet.  If, for example we had either huge algal die offs or 'blooms', those could spread and be very, very serious for the planet... If you aren't sure why, you probably should read up on marine biology and understand the huge contribution that the oceans and denizens make to our atmosphere and the p... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by quiXilver on 12 April, 2017, 16:27
How would one go about regulating such a process so that it didn't cause shock to the system. Any who have tended even a small fresh water fish tank will know the incredible impact of temperature shifts on live fish, let alone the impact of temperature shifts on far more sensitive coral in salt water conditions. Really curious what mechanism they could be considering that would introduce the temperature shift gradually and evenly enough to not cause shock and further harm. 
Comment icon #8 Posted by Calibeliever on 13 April, 2017, 16:26
While I don't disagree entirely with your premise, there are more than 7 billion people alive today who rely pretty heavily on the existing food chain. The demise of the reefs are a weather vane pointing to a potential system collapse. Humans will no doubt survive as a species, but we may be setting ourselves up for a rough couple of decades (centuries?) in the not-too-distant future. The good news is we may well have staved off the next ice age for at least a few more centuries.
Comment icon #9 Posted by DanL on 18 April, 2017, 16:35
I understand what you mean about the cost of a major change in our biosphere but... Imagine a person standing in the middle the left side of a two lane country road. That person is looking down the road and sees a BIG truck coming fast straight towards him. Soon about all he can see is the front of that truck. It is getting CLOSE and is blocking out almost every thing that he can see as far as down the road that he is standing in the middle of. SUDDENLY he realizes what is about to happen so in a rush he proposes that they put big mirrors on the side of the road positioned so that even when th... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by seeder on 25 April, 2017, 18:09
Coral vomit.      
Comment icon #11 Posted by Farmer77 on 25 April, 2017, 18:45
Wow that was cool to see and informative. Thanks.


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