Innovation can help save us from climate change

  • 30/11/2015
Riley Elliot (Paul Henry)
Riley Elliot (Paul Henry)

Researchers in Hawaii are using an assisted evolution experiment to grow coral that can withstand the hotter and more acidic oceans caused by climate change.

Marine biologist Riley Elliot joined Paul Henry to discuss how science can be used to battle the ocean's problems.

The quest to grow the hearty coral comes at a time when researchers are warning about the dire health of the world's reefs, which create habitats for marine life, protect shorelines and drive tourist economies.

60% of ocean diversity relies on coral reefs.

When coral is stressed by changing environmental conditions, it expels the symbiotic algae that live within it and the animal turns white or bright yellow.

If the organisms are unable to recover from these bleaching events, especially when they recur over several consecutive years, the coral will die.

A team are taking the coral to their centre and slowly exposing them to slightly more stressful water.

Juvenile coral is transplanted onto reefs in hopes that the high-performing specimens will strengthen the overall health of the reef.

Watch the video for the full interview.