Collecting coral sperm and genetically engineering key coral species in the lab are just some of the few ingenious ways scientists are working to protect coral reefs, which are dying off from rising water temperatures and acidity from CO2 emissions.
A major contributor to biodiversity and ocean health, reefs are much-needed safe havens for millions of marine species. An ocean without coral reefs is like a landscape devoid of forests.
As scientists race to find a solution, it may not seem as if there is much the rest of us can do to help.
The Environmental Protection Agency begs to differ. Experts say there are a number of actions everyone should take to safeguard coral reefs and create healthy oceans. Most importantly, we should probably stay away from coral to begin with. But if the lure is too great, divers should act responsibly and look, but not touch. When going for a swim in the ocean we should opt for long-sleeved shirts rather than use sunscreen.
Back on shore, the EPA advises all of us to minimize the use of fertilizers in our gardens and install rain barrels to catch water that would otherwise runoff into storm drains — eventually reaching the ocean. Reduce your carbon footprint by choosing public transportation when possible and using energy efficient appliances.
And, finally, a note to all of us who love aquariums: spring for the fake coral — not the real thing.