Corals Dying from Climate Change

Climate change is having a devastating effect on the world’s coral reefs, and these fragile ecosystems are dying at an unprecedented rate. Scientists have just released their latest report showing that only 8% of the world’s coral reefs remain healthy, while 27% are moderately damaged and 65% are severely degraded. The report goes into detail about how climate change has caused ocean temperatures to rise, which means more waves crashing against rock formations and less time for corals to grow. This harms not only our oceans but also all the people who depend on them for food security, tourism revenue or coastal protection from storms.

The Great Barrier Reef of Australia is the largest coral reef system in the world and also one of its most beautiful, which makes it a favorite with tourists. Unfortunately, more than 90% of this beauty has been lost over the past 30 years due to climate change. Experts believe that by 2050, corals will disappear completely if we don’t do anything to stop this from happening.

Australian Climate Council member Will Steffen says, The planet has changed in a way that’s not documented by scientists and it’s changing faster than we’ve ever seen before. We need a concerted effort internationally to reduce the rate of climate change. In order for us to reverse the effects of climate change and save our coral reefs, we need to work together and support stronger laws against carbon emissions.

Fortunately, there are people who understand the urgency of the situation and who are trying to do something about it. For example, in December 2015, an international team of scientists endorsed a plan for restoring dying coral reefs by transplanting young corals from healthy reefs to damaged ones. This plan would not only cost a lot less than many other projects to conserve our oceans, but researchers also believe that it has a higher chance of success because young corals are more likely to survive once transplanted.

Another promising prospect for saving our coral reefs is through the use of 3D printing. Sadly, many of them are dying because they can’t keep pace with changing conditions in the ocean. For example, some corals only feed off certain types of algae, which limits their diet to fewer types of food. This is why scientists are now using 3D printing to create more diverse habitats for them.

One of the best things about 3D printing is that it can produce objects of any shape or size, so scientists are taking advantage of this by creating molds which corals can grow on. This will provide them with a continuous supply of food and give them enough space to multiply, which means that coral habitats will become healthier and more diverse.

In order for this to work, scientists have been studying the dietary needs of different types of corals to make specialized molds which fit their requirements. For example, Lophelia pertusa is a type of reef-building coral which grows on rocks using an organ called a basal plate. This plate is exposed on the ocean floor and creates an area on which Lophelia can grow. However, this makes it difficult for scientists to figure out what type of food these corals like, so they are working hard to find out exactly that in order to 3D print molds which will provide them with a sufficient supply of food.

The other problem with 3D printing is that it can be very hard to create objects which are strong enough to survive in the ocean, which means that scientists have to find a way of making materials which are durable but also light enough for them to transport into the deep sea. Fortunately, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia have found a way to 3D print objects which are both durable and easy to transport by using salt water instead of ink.

Our next step is to determine the best way of deploying these filaments into the ocean without compromising corals themselves, said QUT researcher Jens Heinze.