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Cloudy Waters Shade Corals From Excess Sunlight, Helping Them Survive Climate Change

Dec 24, 2015 03:03 PM EST
Coral Reef
Cloudy waters may help coral reefs survive climate change and increasing temperatures.
(Photo : Flickr: NOAA Images)

Coral reefs may have a fighting chance in the war against climate change: Researchers from the Florida Institute of Technology recently found corals may survive better when shaded by floating particles in warm oceans.

"We've identified refuges from climate change, where naturally turbid environments will reduce the temperature stress predicted for 2100," Chris Cacciapaglia, one of the study researchers, explained in a news release

Coral reefs are among the most diverse marine ecosystems on the planet, but are increasingly susceptible to climate change stress. In fact, as oceans continue to warm, reefs throughout many parts of the world are dying. However, waters that are opaque or thick with floating matter -- or turbid waters -- may reduce future temperature stress by blocking additional sunlight exposure. 

The Florida Tech study, recently published in the journal Global Change Biology, highlights the areas where such unclear conditions will most likely help corals survive.

"Naturally turbid environments may be among the few places where coral species survive in a warmer climate," co-author Rob van Woesik added in Florida Tech's release

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