In Florida, scientists are promoting a radical gardening concept to help conserve our oceans coral reefs. Today, roughly one-quarter of the world’s coral reefs are damaged beyond repair and two-thirds are under serious threat; the primary affecting factor… human activity and environmental damage.
Scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine Science have been working to refine a process known as coral gardening. A reported by Business Insider:
“It works like this: marine biologists cut off the tips of live branching corals, hang the pieces on man-made underwater trees where they grow, and later ‘outplant’ them on real reefs on the ocean floor.”
The process, which originated with scientists in Israel, Fiji, Indonesia and the Philippines including Dr Austin Bowden-Kerby—a marine biologist based in Fiji and director of the non-profit organization Corals for Conservation—has been theorized to have a higher probability of success if local communities and tourist greatly participate in the conservation efforts. Scientists are therefore now teaching these gardening methods to the public through diving trips, ecotourism, and summer camps for teens.
In Florida and the Caribbean, the efforts are being pioneered by the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF). Currently, the CRF have 500 underwater trees in Florida that are growing 40,000-50,000 corals.
“It is just like if you had a rosebush in your garden. As you prune that rosebush back, it grows back healthier, bushier, a little more lively,” Stephanie Schopmeyer, senior research associate at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine Science, told Business Insider.
However, a few groups of scientist believe the solution to saving coral reefs is geoengineering. As reported by the Anti-Media:
“A group of scientists from universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia have released a new study calling for geoengineering of the climate in order to save the coral reefs from a process known as ‘bleaching.’
The researchers, including authors from the Carnegie Institution for Science, the University of Exeter, the Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of Queensland, call for geoengineering the climate using a practice known as Solar Radiation Management (SRM). This involves spraying aerosols from planes in an attempt to reflect the sun’s light with the purpose of preventing rising sea surface temperatures.”
The controversial practice of geoengineering have been found to have connections to a number of other environmental issues, including contaminating global rain water with toxic microscopic metals, the loss of blue skies, and Ozone layer damage. In a report by the New Scientist, Ben Kravitz of Carnegie Institution for Science has shown that the release of sulphate aerosols high in the atmosphere scatters the suns light, ultimately decreasing the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface by 20 percent.
Corals play a very crucial role within our oceans, not only do they contain the most diverse ecosystems on the planet and provide habitats and shelter for many marine organisms, they also “protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms.”
We should therefore continue to use and develop methods, such as coral gardening, which are beneficial to the environment. However, if practices like geoengineering are used as solutions, we are likely to cause an endless domino effect of other environmental damage, one that will be virtually impossible to return from.
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