BBC Life Is "Coral Reefs"


Figure 1: Deep sea coral. Click to awesomely embiggen!

Another awesome exclusive video from our friends over at BBC Life Is. This month, the theme is corals, and the video (behind the fold, since it takes up a decent amount of bandwidth) features an interesting new attempt in Fiji to restore coral reefs.

They write:

Home to a quarter of the planet's marine life, wonderfully weird-looking, and of course brilliantly colourful, coral reefs are often hailed as one of the greatest of the ocean's wonders.

Despite being the home to so much amazing underwater life, almost unbelievably reefs only take up less than one per cent of the Earth's surface. And it would be such a shame to lose the reefs, and the incredibly diverse species that inhabit them.

With global warming, acidifying oceans and other human impacts like fishing, unfortunately it's a very real possibility. But some exciting new developments could save our reefs and the awe-inspiring animals and plants they support.

A gigantic ancient reef, 30 times larger than its neighbouring modern reef, was discovered recently 600km east of Australia. Although it is dead, small signs of life show that coral reefs could start growing in places they haven't before.

It's possible that higher temperatures could mean reefs may die in tropical regions, but start to flourish closer to the poles.

Perhaps this, coupled with coral gardening, can turn things around for the ocean's reefs.

In Fiji, scientists are working with fishermen to restore coral reefs and the fish populations that feed off them. The 'coral gardeners' dive to find corals that are under threat from living in over-populated areas, clustered together.

The corals in need are broken down into fingers, then taken to a 'farm' in ideal conditions for them to grow. After just two years of growth one coral finger can multiply into 50 or more - brilliant and encouraging!

There could be a brighter future yet for coral reefs.

You can find more images and videos of coral reefs and more amazing nature content on the BBC Earth - Life Is website and their Facebook page, which features exclusive content.


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By Sydney Birch (not verified) on 29 Oct 2010 #permalink