[Coral-List] creating warm-tolerant strains of zooxanthellae?

Tupper, Mark (WorldFish) M.Tupper at CGIAR.ORG
Sun Apr 15 22:43:25 EDT 2007

Dear List,


This question was received on ReefBase this morning. Creating
warm-tolerant strains of zooxanthellae sounds like something that has
probably been tried before, although I can't imagine how they would be
reintroduced to the reef at a scale large enough to mitigate a
widespread bleaching event.  Anyway, I am not a coral bleaching
specialist so I am forwarding it to the list for comment. Please send
replies to m.tupper at cgiar.org. Thank you.


I just finished watching the IMAX film Coral Reef for the 3rd time.
WOW, what an amazing and amazingly educational film.  While watching it,
I got an idea.  Perhaps, you have already thought of this and are doing
something like this already.  But I have to share it with someone.  


I understand from the film, that much of what is killing the coral is
the warming of the ocean water which is killing the algae that the coral
need to produce food.  Well, if this is the case, I have an idea how to
solve that problem.  I am sure the algae have a very short life span;
therefore, it would not take very much time to create many generations
of algae. I am sure it would be possible to "teach" these algae to
tolerate and in fact thrive in the warmer waters by "domesticating" them
to the warmer waters.  Each generation is grown in slightly warmer and
warmer water until you have a population that can survive in the 2
degree and growing difference that we have now.  These new algae could
be reintroduced to the reefs that are "bleaching" and perhaps they will
come back, or at least that would take care of one of their problems,
while we figure out what to do about the rest of the problems that we
have created for our struggling oceans.  


Furthermore, the communities that rely on the reefs for their economy
and the safety of their island could benefit from this research by doing
the research and growing the populations of algae, with grant money
provided from the government and private sectors.  This would boost
their economy and we would ALL benefit from it, not to mention create
more scientific minds in countries that might not normally support


Please let me know of your thoughts on this and pass this on to whoever
else in your organization could share it with whomever else who could
evaluate it for merit, if you are not that person.  


Dr. Marah Cannon




Dr. Mark Tupper

Scientist - Coral Reefs

The WorldFish Center

PO Box 500 GPO, 10670 Penang, Malaysia

Tel (+6-04) 626-1606; Fax (+6-04) 626-5530


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