A recent study has revealed that extreme flooding caused by ocean storms could double around the world if coral reefs continue to die out.
Corals reefs are known to act as natural barriers that play an important role in the protection against waves, storms, and floods. Without them, life could be lost, and property could get damaged.
According to the findings of the same study, the loss of these natural structures would cost billions of dollars worldwide every year due to frequent storms and flood damages. What's more, flooding could quadruple and cause sea levels to rise by one meter or more.
What's Causing Coral Reefs To Die Out?
There are suggestions that climate change and man-made activities are among reasons for the destruction of the world's coral. These activities include coastal development, coral mining, pollution, and overfishing.
The ultimate solution to saving the world's coral population is to reverse climate change, but achieving this would be a very difficult and lengthy task.
Two promising alternative studies are currently looking into methods of improving coral reproduction, namely in-vitro fertilization and induced spawning.
Coral In-Vitro Fertilization And Induced Spawning
Coral IVF is performed similarly to the way IVF in humans. It involves collecting, transferring, and transplanting a large number of sperm and coral eggs and growing them into larvae before redistributing them to the reef.
Induced spawning, on the other hand, involves replicating certain environmental conditions to induce the spawning of captive corals reliably. To do this, scientists would need to recreate an artificial environment that replicates the ideal movement, lighting, and water temperature correlating with spawning.
Scientists from the Horniman Museum and Gardens in the United Kingdom were the ones responsible for developing these two pioneering methods. Earlier this year, they announced that they had completed successful experiments of coral in-vitro fertilization and induced spawning.
Mitigation Of The Effects Of Climate Change And Proper Reef Management
In addition to these two methods, other solutions to saving the coral population are to manage the reef properly, mitigate the effects of climate change, reduce pollution, and deal with animals and man-made activities that directly affect the reef.
This is exactly what the government of Australia is doing. Recently, authorities from the country announced that they would commit around $500 million to save the Great Barrier Reef.
As for proper reef management, researchers from the University of California-Santa Cruz said that several countries such as Cuba, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines would definitely benefit if they would manage their reefs well.
The researchers are urging world governments to invest in coral reef conservation to prevent storm and flood damages in the future.