Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2022

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef used to be a symbol of the pristine beauty that the ocean offers, but now it represents the terrible mark that human-induced climate change is having on the world as half of the coral that made up the reef has died in the past couple years. Is there still hope? The answer is yes thanks to researchers at two Australian universities who have developed an underwater robot that could help turn the tide in the ongoing struggle to save at-risk reefs. The briefcase-size submersible is designed to move autonomously along damaged sections of reef, seeding them with hundreds of thousands of microscopic baby corals. These seeded specimens were derived from corals that survived the coral bleaching event of 2016-17, which are believed to be especially tolerant of warmer ocean temperatures. If the baby corals manage to take hold and grow, the researchers say they will eventually develop a fleet of submersibles that would be used to save reefs around the world.

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