• Groundbreaking Coral Reef Recovery Method Accidentally Discovered By A Scientist
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The best discoveries always seem to be complete accidents
Wasn't penicillin discovered by complete accident or am I thinking of something else?
Wasn't this discovered in 2016?
So we're gonna save the coral reefs by smashing them to tiny bits? Hardcore, I wanna be a coral smasher
This is some of the best news this year.
While this may be new to many here, this isn't a new discovery as the article makes it seem. Dr.Vaughan figured this out over a decade ago, and prior to that people have been fragging corals at least a decade further. The core difference between micro-fragging and regular fragging from what I can tell is that with micro-fragging you're cutting the coral into much smaller pieces, and placing them close enough together so that they regrow and fuse back together as one. Essentially multiplying the time it takes for a coral to cover a surface area. This paper from Vaughan et al. discusses it https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4614846/ (This is just some research on the method, not the original discovery that took place around 2006) Here's a NYT article about it with a bit more info from 2014: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/science/a-lifesaving-transplant-for-coral-reefs.html It's a useful method for the LPS Hard corals like Brains and such because they grow slower and cover a large surface. Growing a large brain coral can take years, but if you break a large adult one up in a nursery and spread it out, the small fragments focus on growth and spread out, eventually fusing back into each other as they grow. (It's important to remember that corals are not one animal, but a colony of many animals living together) He's an advisor to Coral Vita, a company that uses micro-fragging to farm corals for restoration projects. Ultimately, projects like this will only delay the degradation of the reefs if we don't reverse the reasons for the degradation. But it's also important that we have living reefs until we can do that, even if that means seeding them ourselves. Finally, here's a good article about coral fragging in general if you're interested: https://www.advancedaquarist.com/2006/3/aafeature3 If I was an eccentric billionaire with nothing to do, I'd make an indoor coral farming company with the goal of cataloguing a living specimen of every coral, restoring reefs, and selling corals to hobbyists with the goal of reducing the Hobby's dependence on wild corals from struggling reefs.
So what you are saying is we need to take the coral, grind it into a mush and spread it thickly on the ocean floor like very colourful peanut butter? Finally, a problem where violence IS the answer!
But does this help at all when the oceans are getting more acidic?
Supposedly. The traditional version of this story describes the discovery as a serendipitous accident: in his laboratory in the basement of St Mary's Hospital in London (now part of Imperial College), Fleming noticed a Petri dish containing Staphylococci that had been mistakenly left open was contaminated by blue-green mould from an open window, which formed a visible growth. There was a halo of inhibited bacterial growth around the mould. Fleming concluded that the mould released a substance that repressed the growth and caused lysing of the bacteria. When I learnt about penicillin in high school, even the teacher raised an eyebrow at how a discovery had supposedly been made by the coincidence of wind. Then again, stranger things have happened and I don't think there's a global conspiracy about penicillin.
Is there much benefit to the coral reefs beyond a symbol of our fucking everything up?
Even better, it was discovered through sheer laziness. Fleming had left a bunch of culture plates unattended while on vacation with his family, then came back and found that one of them had been colonised by a mould that inhibited bacterial growth.
Without it we are fucked
They're the liver of the ocean.
Okay but like do we make any MONEY from them
Yee every day from fish
Australia and the Carribean make massive buckerinos from Tourism alone. It also helps keep the fishing industry afloat.
But we cows and chickens.
A lot of the recent scientific discoveries have injected a lot of hope back into me.
About $375 billion a year. (In 1997) The commercial value of U.S. fisheries from coral reefs is over $100 million (NMFS/NOAA, 2001). In addition, the annual value of reef-dependent recreational fisheries probably exceeds $100 million per year.  NOAA National Ocean Service Education
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