Lynn Voedisch: Coral makes a comeback in the Caribbean

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For years now, coral has been dying off in the warm oceans. People are warned to touch it, lest they cause more coral death. But it’s coral that most people want to see when vacationing in areas with warm water. Not to mention that coral reefs are important refuges for myriad fish, who hunt for food in the reefs.

Some stunning news has come to light, now that scientists have discovered that the orbicella variant of coral has been able to adapt to its environment and come back to life.

One or two million years ago, most coral died off on earth due to climactic changes (much like what is happening today). However, orbicella managed to adapt and reassert itself in those ancient times. Scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)  Orbicella, will continue to adapt to future climate changes because of their high genetic diversity.

“We can look forward to using similar approaches to predict demographic models to better manage the climate change threatened Orbicella reefs of today,” said Monica Medina, research associate at STRI and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and associate professor at Pennsylvania State University.

Scientists are going to closely research the orbicella genome and see how it can be applied to preserving other coral populations.

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On November 23, 2016
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