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Fourth echelon

Some corals are already adapting to global warming

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AUSTIN, Texas, June 25 (UPI) -- As ocean waters continue to warm, scientists have observed larger and more frequent coral bleaching events. Ecologists have worried global warming could precipitate coral extinctions -- die-offs that could threaten entire marine food chains.

But according to new research out the University of Texas, some coral species already possess the genetic variations necessary to prevent such dire consequences.


Some corals are able to adapt to warmer water, researchers say, and those beneficial genes are transportable.

"Our research found that corals do not have to wait for new mutations to appear. Averting coral extinction may start with something as simple as an exchange of coral immigrants to spread already existing genetic variants," Mikhail Matz, an associate professor of integrative biology at Texas, said in a press release. "Coral larvae can move across oceans naturally, but humans could also contribute, relocating adult corals to jump-start the process."



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