As Corals Kick the Bucket, It's Time to Freeze Them for Posterity


Photo via Wildxplorer via Flickr CC

Coral reefs are dying, and despite our best efforts at conservation, many scientists think there's no stopping their decline. In a move on par with the creation of seed banks, scientists think it's time to start freezing species specimens in case we need to clone them for future reefs. At a meeting organized by the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (Globe), scientists acknowledged that we're on the losing end of a battle to save corals, which are on the decline due primarily to rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification - which is a result of the massive amounts of CO2 we're pumping into the atmosphere. The corals' shells are dissolving because of the changed pH levels, leaving them too weak to recover from problems like pollution, overfishing, and disease.

According to the BBC, scientists are now proposing storing coral species in liquid nitrogen so that, once global GHG emissions and therefore ocean temperatures are stabilized, any species that were killed off could be restored.

What a bleak, yet practical, thing to have to decide on.

''Well it's the last ditch effort to save biodiversity from the reefs which are extremely diverse systems," said Simon Harding from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

"It would take other work to try and reconstruct the reef so that you can start the process of building up a reef again," he said.

A depressing thought on the whole, but looking at the silver lining, it's great that scientists are taking a hard look at what needs to happen now so that we can hopefully still have coral biodiversity in the future.

More on Coral Reefs
Coral Reefs in Danger? Climate Champ to the Rescue
6 Steps to Saving the World's Coral Reefs
Underwater Museum to Protect Coral Reefs in Mexico

Tags: Conservation | Coral Reefs