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Nature & Environment

Coral reefs endured death of the dinosaurs

By T.K. Randall
August 10, 2018 · Comment icon 4 comments



Coral reefs may be more resilient than we thought. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Wise Hok Wai Lum
A new study has revealed that coral reefs have been around for far longer than previously realized.
With vast swathes of the world's coral reefs expelling their symbiotic algae and turning deathly white due to the effects of rising ocean temperatures, the future of Australia's Great Barrier Reef and other major coral reef systems has been looking increasingly bleak.

According to a recent study by an international team of scientists however, coral reefs may actually be a lot more resilient to climate change than we have been giving them credit for.

For the research, scientists aimed to study the diversity of the algae species which have a symbiotic relationship with the coral - meaning that the two rely on one another to survive.

The findings indicated that this relationship may have actually existed for far longer than anyone had realized - up to 160 million years - which is 100 million years longer than previously thought.
The discovery implies that coral reefs have managed to survive several major catastrophic events including the devastating mass-extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs.

"Our recognition of the true origin of those microbes that give corals life is major revelation," said study lead author Prof Todd LaJeunesse. "They are way older than was previously estimated."

The find could also mean that coral reefs may not be wiped out by modern day climate change.

"It tells us that they are incredibly resilient and will likely be around for a long time," said Prof LaJeunesse. "With that said, their survival of the current rapid changes in our climate may not be a pretty one. Ecosystem function may collapse."

Source: BBC News | Comments (4)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Carlos Allende 4 years ago
It seems crazy enough to me that _The_ Coral has outlived Blur and Oasis.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Silver Surfer 4 years ago
Pity it won't survive man.
Comment icon #3 Posted by DanL 4 years ago
I find things like this really curious. In West Texas you have the Guadalupe Mountains. They are very pretty and not very big or high when compared to the Rocky Mountains and such. They are nonetheless very impressive when you find out that they are not really mountains in the traditional geologic sense. The Guadalupe Mountains is a fossil reef that was formed back in the Cretaceous period when there was a huge inland sea that ran from the arctic to what is now the Gulf of Mexico. This has been known since 1855. How are they again just now figuring out that coral has been around for longer tha... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by Not A Rockstar 4 years ago
thanks for that @DanL had never heard this before, not being from there. Amazing.


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