Scientists freeze Great Barrier Reef coral in world-first trial

Tags: Science and Technology

Scientists freeze Great Barrier Reef coral in world-first trial

Scientists working on Australia's Great Barrier Reef have successfully tested a new method for freezing and storing coral larvae, in a bid to restore the reef threatened by climate change.

Important facts

  • Cryogenically frozen coral can be stored and later reintroduced into the wild but the process requires sophisticated equipment including lasers.

  • A new lightweight "Cryomesh" could be manufactured more cheaply and better protect corals, according to scientists.

  • Cryomesh is a specially fabricated mesh used as a substrate in cryopreservation. The mesh technology will help store coral larvae at -196°C (-320.8°F).

  • Scientists are conducting scientific research to protect coral reefs as rising ocean temperatures are destabilising this fragile ecosystem.

  • The Great Barrier Reef has experienced four bleaching events in the past seven years.

What are Coral reefs?

  • Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems on Earth.

  • They play an important role in marine ecosystems and support habitats for flora and fauna in the ocean.

  • Each coral is called a polyp and thousands of such polyps live together to form a colony.

About Great Barrier Reef

  • It extends for 1400 miles along the north-east coast of Queensland, Australia and is the world's most extensive and rich coral reef ecosystem.

  • It is made up of more than 2,900 reefs and more than 900 islands.

  • It is the largest single structure in the world made by living organisms.

  • This reef was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.

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