The Elements of Evolution (43-14-9) Coral

 Coral

The rising temperature of the world’s oceans has become a major threat to coral reefs globally as the severity and frequency of mass coral bleaching and mortality events increase. ~ American biological oceanographer Mark Eakin et al

Coral comprises a colony of marine invertebrates, individually called a polyp. Each polyp is a spineless animal, only a few centimeters in length, with a set of tentacles surrounding its mouth.

An exoskeleton of calcium carbonate is excreted near the base of coral. Over the years this builds into extensive reefs.

Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea, forming some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. Though occupying less than 0.1% of the world’s ocean surface, coral reefs are home to 25% of all marine species. Coral is one of the most important keystone species on the planet.

Rising acidity and warming water present extreme challenges to coral. Their demise leaves a reef bleached of its color and an ecosystem in terminal distress.

To a degree, coral can adapt, and do so quickly via epigenetic changes. In less than 2 years, high-growth warmwater coral can tolerate greater heat stress. This involves management consultants. Coral acclimatize to the heat by hiring temperature-tolerant algal symbionts.

Acclimatization can allow corals to acquire substantial high-temperature resistance quickly. ~ American marine biologist Stephen Palumbi et al