Orpheus Island Research
Orpheus Island Research

Tests show young corals surviving warmer water

IN A fantastic scientific outcome young corals have survived this test of the elements on the Great Barrier Reef.

The trial aims to show that young coral offspring, produced from mixing corals from warm northern reefs with cooler central corals, can survive in cooler environments.

This is the first test to assess the feasibility of the technique called Assisted Gene Flow at this larger scale on the Great Barrier Reef. The seven-month-old corals have one parent from the warmer northern reaches of the Reef and the other from the cooler central Reef.

AIMS marine scientist Kate Quigley says research has shown the offspring inherit heat tolerance from their northern parents, and in time, may pass on these heat-tolerant genes and make reefs more resistant to future marine heatwaves.

Line Bay, who leads AIMS' research into reef recovery, adaptation and restoration, said Assisted Gene Flow was helping nature to do what it does naturally.