Jon White – From the President’s Office: 09-16-2019

2019-09-18T09:45:50+00:00 September 17, 2019|

Innovative Ways To Clean Up The Mess We’ve Made

It seems like hardly a week goes by without some more dire news about our world’s coral reefs, the most recent being that a break down in spawning is another threat to their survival. Fortunately, there may be more we can do than just worry. I’m encouraged by the scientific research of so many of our member institutions, which has led to the implementation of new methods and technologies that can help conserve and restore our coral reefs.

Along these lines, I recently attended a presentation by Revive and Restore, an organization exploring the use of genomics and genetic engineering to help save endangered, and maybe even extinct, species. I suggest you check out their report, Ocean Genomics Horizon Scan, which highlights 10 threats to ocean health — including coral bleaching — and how genomic or biotech might help conservation efforts. This is in line with a recent report from the National Academies Ocean Studies Board: A Decision Framework for Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs, which includes, among others, consideration of genetic and reproductive interventions. These types of efforts just might hold the key to turning the tide on the bleaching scourge that threatens the very existence of living coral reefs over the next few decades. While we must be careful to understand and manage the risk of human interventions like these, I suggest they incorporate our consortium’s tenets of discovery, understanding, and action in a way that can be truly impactful on the scale necessary to restore global ocean health and sustainability.

Promising ocean scientific and technological advances like these have been made possible only by the decades of global ocean observations that we have made and recorded, thanks again to the heroic efforts of countless scientists and technicians. The future of ocean observing also holds great promise, and I am excited to learn more about that at OceanObs’19 in Honolulu this week, along with many of you. If you are here, please stop by our table in “The Lounge” of the exhibition hall to say hello, and also join me in thanking the many COL staff who are responsible for the amazing conference program!

Texas A&M Team Finds New Ways For Coral Reef Ecosystems To Grow
For the first time, a team of scientists that includes three Texas A&M University researchers have found that microscopic oceanic organisms are important for coral reef growth and sustaining these vital ecosystems. The researchers examined Hawaii’s Kāneʻohe Bay barrier reef and microscopic particles called particulate organic matter, or POM, which includes phytoplankton.

Read our most recent and past newsletters here: