Scientists Study Caribbean Coral Reefs to Curb Climate Crisis
Scientists are on a mission to map coral reefs in the Caribbean to see which ones are likely to get through climate change. According to estimates, around half of coral reefs have been wiped out since 1950. Heat stress is harmful to their existence and causes severe damage to the marine ecosystem.
Corals along the northern shoreline of Cuba can survive climate change and destruction from marine heatwaves. Other places where high-potential corals can be found are the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, eastern Jamaica, and Florida State in the United States, as well as other parts of the world.
Coral reefs are the backbones of the ocean. They have created an ecosystem where other creatures can survive, and they are one of the most threatened ecosystems on Earth.
A recent report by the IPCC points out that only around 10 to 30 per cent of coral reefs will survive climate change at up to 1.5C of warming. If the warming increases, then their survival prospects will be extremely dampened.
The scientists examined many factors, such as hurricane damage and heat stress, and compared several climate approaches and models. They have listed corals to protect based on their resilience to climate change using those climate models.
Iliana Chollett, a lead researcher, said: "Locating and managing the places that hold the greatest promise to sustain key species will be critical for helping these precious habitats persist as the planet continues to warm."
The Nature Conservancy's Ximena Escovar-Fadul said: "The insights are already shaping reef conservation efforts to deliver durable, climate-smart protection for those ecosystems most likely to survive this century."
According to scientists, coral reefs will not be able to survive 2 degrees of warming, which means, at the earliest, we need urgent measures in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to save them for future generations.