On a High Note: Hope for Coral Reefs

Coral thrives in warming Gulf of Aqaba

Most corals have a narrow temperature range they can live happily in, so warming waters are bad news. Since 1950, a combination of climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction has halved the cover of coral reefs worldwide. But a new study found that corals in the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqaba are thriving in waters up to 6 degrees Celsius higher than their normal maximum summer temps (27 degrees C), signaling a promising moment for corals. The Gulf's diverse ecosystem includes 157 species of hard corals.

"Aqaba's corals could be a source to repopulate reefs if corals die everywhere else," marine biologist Manuel Aranda told Deutsche Welle. Aranda's work, out of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, involves crossbreeding corals to improve their heat resistance for survival and so they can continue to reproduce themselves.

OceanX: Discovering New Coral Communities In The Red Sea, November 2, 2021.

ICRI: The Sixth GCRMN Status of Coral Reefs of the World, October 4, 2021.