I must admit I hadn’t thought of this one -apparently the Zoological Society of London is proposing the world’s first ‘cryobank’ for corals (similar to the Millenium Seed Bank project). According to news reports, the proposal is to preserve samples of coral in liquid nitrogen, allowing them to be ‘reintroduced’ at some point in the future:
”Well it’s the last ditch effort to save biodiversity from the reefs which are extremely diverse systems,” said Simon Harding from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
“It would take other work to try and reconstruct the reef so that you can start the process of building up a reef again,” he said.
“That is something that needs to be looked at in detail, but we can definitely store the species and save them in that way.” (Read More)
Interesting proposal, but whilst others might see this as a ‘necassary option’, it fails to get to the root cause of the issue: climate change.
Charlie Veron, former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, said he supported the effort but warned it was no consolation for the eradication of reefs.
Creating coral-style aquariums, similar to the zoos of today, or preserving the genetic make-up of coral samples to “resurrect” reef systems in the future, were not meaningful options, according to Dr Veron.
“These are not solutions,” he said. “Because Australia is home to the biggest coral reef in the world, it should concentrate all its efforts into helping the Great Barrier Reef survive.
“Personally, I feel it’s no compensation to know that the genetic information of corals is kept in machines.” (Read More)
Perhaps we will also have to cryo-preserve a few reef scientists so somebody knows how to rebuild the machine once the world cools off in a few thousand years.
But seriously, this sounds like the kind of thing Steven Levitt would propose as a “cheaper” “solution” to the coral reef-climate change crisis.