More than just a pretty reef: why corals are so important and how they might be saved

Written by Alicia Shephard In 2020 it was announced that the Great Barrier Reef had lost more than half of its corals since 1995, due mainly to warmer seas driven by climate change. But it was also the year that plans for a huge coral biobank were announced in Australia. The purpose? To provide a … More More than just a pretty reef: why corals are so important and how they might be saved

Book club: ‘Coral Whisperers’ by Irus Braverman

A fascinating insight into the plight of those fighting to save coral reefs in our rapidly changing world. In her 2018 book ‘Coral Whisperers: Scientists on the Brink’ environmental lawyer Irus Braverman explores the complex issues facing corals today, through the eyes of those who know them best. After carrying out over 100 interviews with … More Book club: ‘Coral Whisperers’ by Irus Braverman

New ‘pregnancy-style tests’ can detect destructive crown-of-thorns starfish on GBR

A new testing kit created by researchers from Australia can detect the coral killing crown-of-thorns starfish in a similar way to a home pregnancy kit. Using a special dipstick researchers can detect microscopic amounts of their DNA at the surface, which could help control their destructive population outbreaks below. For well over 50 years the … More New ‘pregnancy-style tests’ can detect destructive crown-of-thorns starfish on GBR

Chemical in sea whips can be re-created to treat multi-drug resistant TB

A new technique by researchers in Germany allows for a special antibiotic compound in sea whips to be re-created without the need for harvesting or destroying the soft corals it is found in. In addition to helping treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, this process could also be used to create other useful medicines. Sea whips (also … More Chemical in sea whips can be re-created to treat multi-drug resistant TB

Surprisingly fast growth rates discovered in deep-sea corals

New research from the University of Hawai’i has shown that the deep-sea corals Leptoseris can grow at a much faster rate than previously realised. It challenges the widely held assumption that deeper corals living on the brink of darkness grow extremely slowly. When you think of corals you normally picture diverse and colourful structures in … More Surprisingly fast growth rates discovered in deep-sea corals

Great Barrier Reef suffers third mass bleaching event in five years

After record heatwaves in Australia, which led to the disastrous bushfires there earlier in the year, the Great Barrier Reef has now suffered widespread coral bleaching for the third time since 2016. Last week the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority announced to the world that it had collected enough data to conclude that the … More Great Barrier Reef suffers third mass bleaching event in five years

Assisted evolution: is meddling with corals the key to their survival?

Written by Eleanor Gilbert In July 2018, a team of divers – biologists from the Gates Coral Lab at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology – watched as corals spawned.  Using nets, they captured tiny eggs and sperm that were released into the water and brought them back to the lab. The goal: to crossbreed … More Assisted evolution: is meddling with corals the key to their survival?

Even Pokémon are suffering from coral bleaching

In a surprising twist to the new Pokémon games Sword & Shield, Nintendo have re-designed the coral Pokémon Corsola to have bleached due to ‘sudden climate change’. It is a stark and symbolic reminder of how we are changing the planet form an unlikely source. Nintendo’s ‘Pokémon’ is a hugely popular global franchise featuring a … More Even Pokémon are suffering from coral bleaching