Today’s Solutions: January 21, 2022

Rising ocean temperatures as a result of global warming are one of the main reasons behind coral bleaching – a process that pushes away the symbiotic algae living within their tissue, causing these unique marine invertebrates to turn white. In a bid to come to their rescue, scientists are continuously researching ways to help mitigate the effects of climate change on these luscious marine ecosystems.

With that in mind, researchers at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences recently found a cool way – literally – to save the reefs by pumping up cold water from the depths of the ocean to provide a comfortable environment for the corals where they can thrive.

The process, called “upwelling”, typically happens naturally when wind pushes surface water away from coastal regions, causing cooler, more nutrient-rich water from below to take its place. Sometimes, this is also replicated artificially with deep-ocean pumps to help increase fish stocks at the surface.

A team of scientists led by Dr. Yvonne Sawall decided to use a similar “artificial upwelling” technique to help prevent coral bleaching by cooling the waters where coral reefs are located.

For the study, the researchers collected three samples of different coral species living at depths of 15 ft (5 m) from Bermuda’s Sea Venture Shoals regions and placed them in aquaria at the institute. There, they subjected the fragments to different temperature conditions over a period of three weeks.

As New Atlas reports, those conditions involved an average summer temperature of 28°C/82ºF; a warmer temperature of 31°C/88F, known to cause coral bleaching; and that same warmer temperature with daily pulses of cooler 24ºC/75ºF water drawn from a depth of 164 ft/50m; and the same warmer temperature with daily pulses of cooler 20ºC/68ºF water drawn from a depth of 300 ft/100 m.

To the delight of the researchers, the findings showed that less than two hours a day of exposure to the cool, deep water mitigated the coral’s heat stress. This was indicated by the presence of more algae in the corals that received the cool pulses of water, compared to those that didn’t.

“Our study shows the potential benefits of pulsed AU [artificial upwelling] during heat waves,” said Sawall. “The next steps now are to find suitable AU settings to maximize the benefits, while minimizing potential harmful side effects of AU for corals and the ecosystem they support.”

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

This solar panel covered building reflects Taiwan’s green energy transition

Most projects designed by the Dutch architecture firm MVRDV tend to leave a lasting impression on whoever lays their eyes on them. The company's upcoming project, Sun Rock, is no exception. Designed for Taiwan’s government-owned ... Read More

Why you shouldn’t peel all your vegetables

In her book, Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson reveals that she doesn’t own a vegetable peeler. As a result, “food prep is much faster, my compost output (peelings) is considerably reduced, and we benefit from ... Read More

This online sex shop serves people living with and beyond cancer

Being diagnosed with, receiving treatment for, and surviving cancer are all incredibly impactful experiences that affect all areas of a person’s life—including sex. Many people aren’t comfortable bringing up these two sensitive subjects in casual ... Read More

Zebrafish brains reveal new information about our memories

It seems like we're writing about fish a whole lot lately! Last week, we featured an article about goldfish learning to drive. This week, zebrafish, a species studied for their relatively long lifespans, are helping ... Read More

These sustainably powered homes can raise families out of poverty

Finding and sharing positive ways to tackle the world’s challenges is our favorite activity at The Optimist Daily, so it’s no surprise that we are especially excited about BillionBricks and Architecture Brio’s PowerHyde solar homes, ... Read More

5 reasons that secrets sour relationships & how to break the secret-keep...

According to a 2018 study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people on average keep around 13 secrets at a time, five of which have never been revealed to anyone. It’s worth mentioning ... Read More