Australian reefs are particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change, not only because of temperature, but also extreme weather events and increased rainfall. A team led by the Australian Institute of Marine Science has found a possible solution.
By studying the DNA variations of coral species along the Great Barrier Reef, researchers have managed to isolate gene-strains. Both cauliflower and staghorn corals were found to have specific defensive traits that correlated to water conditions, like clarity and temperature.
As a shifting climate affects coral colonies, scientists will be able to use this information in order to rejuvenate populations. Utilising only robust strains with the best immune systems means that resistant reefs could be a possibility.