Struggling Ocean Reefs
In an article published in the Christian Science Monitor last month, one scientist has been working to find ways that would protect coral reefs. Mary Hogedon who works as a marine biologist, is planning on using liquid nitrogen
together with freezers to provide life-saving condition and preservation methods to the exquisite lives of coral. But what makes her project more interesting to the public is that she’s using a relatively new process called cryopreservation, to do so. And so far- due to rapidly changing climatic condition, it’s a race against time.
Mary’s hope is to prevent another of our ocean- residents from extinction. The work of saving corals from human actions and from the effect of global -warming and rising sea level, have become a painful reality for most people including myself. This happened after completing a ten- week course this fall, in Oceanography. Here’s the painful truth of our world. If humanity continues on in its present path, there’s a chance that the next generation of human beings and their offspring are more likely to witness what could be the beginning of the disappearance of the countless other marine lives which depend largely on coral communities in the ocean for their own survivor.
Mary Hagedon and her team of scientists whom I have dubbed the “Visible Helpers, are designing means that would help them develop a “reef sperm bank” or something very similar to it, which would then be able to freeze reproductive cells of coral, algae, including other habitats such as fish- which make their home among coral reef. This selfless goal these scientists are trying to achieve is to maintain the genetic diversity of ocean coral reef through Cryopreservation. The fear though is that there could be extinction due to changing weather patterns and human actions on the world oceans. And so, they are hoping that, with this new idea, they would be able to maintain the blueprint which in the future could help them repopulate the ocean from this bank of frozen coral gametes.
The article also points out that though there is consensus amongst coral researchers concerning the danger that threatens ocean reefs existence, they differ widely on a whole range of issues including on how best to achieve this goal. For some, the question is; “at what level should human even interfere in trying to preserve the ocean ecosystem?” But some researchers, including Ohio State University marine scientist Andrea Grottoli, who believes that “it’s not a question of should we save reefs – they have to be save- it’s a matter of how do we do that and how much of it can we save?” Still, some of these conservationists are split on issue like whether it’s even important to give each individual threatened species the life-saving attention or simply focus on how to minimize the overarching threats which both human and climate change are causing.
People like Terry Hughes, the director of the” Australian Research Council’s Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, “believes that Small-scale restoration projects aren’t the best way to save coral reefs. Terry’s argument is that, such a method can only do so much, given the immense size of the ocean. Contrary to Terry’s argument, however, other prominent researchers in the field, who, for example, have delved deep into the breathtakingly colorful environment of the ocean ecosystem, feel otherwise. They think the idea that “if you can’t save all, then don’t save any,” is a poor judgement for someone like Mary who is painfully aware of the “back-to-back mass bleaching of coral reefs in recent years. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; coral reefs are giant “economic resource at nearly 30 billion in annual revenue. You must stop and think about that, and about the positive impact this can have on local economy.
In another article published in the New York Times, by Justin Gillis, Scientists have recorded that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, beating a record set only a year earlier. Based on the finding, scientists noticed that it’s the first time in recent history for global warming data to get blown past previous record three years in a row. Scientists are now convinced that the global temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose significant threat to the natural world and to human civilization.
I drove right up to the Oregon Coast last month along with two other students, who were very helpful in gathering data on the geology of the Oregon’s magnificent coastline. We took pictures of Whales, Seals, Sea lions, Sea anemones and mollusks on the beaches and beneath the many huge boulders scattered all over in the tidal zone. The headlands in certain areas along the beach, I noticed appear very steep and threatening. Beaches along the Pacific North West, for example, show obvious signs of active margins.