A thought about Singapore corals

After a depressing afternoon studying about historical declines in coral reefs for my Oceanography final (coral reefs are DOOMED, DOOMED, DOOOOOMED!!!), had a thought about another reason for saving Singapore corals. Politicians may say that surrounding countries have much better reefs that are bigger and provide proportionally more ecosystem services to the region, BUT Singapore corals have a couple of rather unique characteristics:

1. They can survive in really elevated levels of sedimentation, levels more than one level of magnitude higher than those reported to KILL corals. Ain't that cool?

2. They seem to be more resistant to bleaching-related mortality brought about by elevated sea surface temperatures (SSTs) such as during the El Nino event in 1998. About 25% mortality (correct me if wrong) compared to massive die-offs such as in the Maldives?

If these attributes have a genetic basis, as maladaptive corals around the world die-off in response to habitat degradation (e.g. increased terrestrial run-off) and climate change, Singapore corals could become important genetic broodstock to re-seed surrounding areas! We need to save them now!

Okay, I'm making a heck of alot of assumptions here, but isn't this something worth thinking about?


Jeffrey said…
Good point about Singapore's sediment-tolerant corals being brood-stock, but you might be talking about different species of corals from those found elsewhere. If Singapore's waters were as clear as in the Caribbean, we'd have more Acropora species, and be, more or less, in the same *shit* as elsewhere.

Maybe, in the course of a few more generations of PhD students, you'd find the Caribbean reefs evolving to a similar sediment-tolerant composition that you find here in Singapore.

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