U.H. Research Team Honored for Coral Preservation Techniques

Aug 5, 2015

Credit Raphael Ritson-Williams

Researchers with the University of Hawaii at Manoa are being honored for their work to understand and reverse coral bleaching. The team headed by Ruth Gates and Madeleine van Oppen from the Australian Institute of Marine Science attempts to grow coral that’s resistant to the effects of global warming and rising levels of acid in the water.

Their research cross-breeds stronger coral to create offspring that can resist climate change. The process is compared to breeding dogs… selecting desirable traits from different parents. They also expose coral to changing conditions: gradually raising water acidity and temperature in order to teach colonies to remember the bleaching incident and adapt to changing conditions. 

Recently the team won a $10,000 challenge from Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen of Vulcan Inc.  They were invited to submit a grant proposal for funding consideration.  A nearly $4-million, five-year project agreement was reached in June of this year, with research timed to maximize this summer’s peak coral reproduction season in North America.

Listen to the complete interview with Ruth Gates: 

The project is described in a video put out by HD under H20, and it’s pretty neat. 

How to Train Your Coral from HD Under H2O on Vimeo.