Corals "adapting to climate change better than previously thought"

Photo of cute PhD student always helps

From The Science is Settled department. The death of the Great Barrier Reef from the evils of man-made global warming is one of the greatest scaremongering arguments of climate alarmists, despite the fact that pollution and run-off from agriculture are far more damaging.

The notion that organisms that have been around for millions of years are unable to adapt to the gentle warming of the late 20th century has always struck me as patently nonsensical. Hypersensitivity to small changes in climate would ensure that most life forms would fail to survive the billions of turbulent years on this planet to be still here today.

Clearly this isn’t what we observe. On a similar note, an earlier post examined how tropical fish can adapt to dramatic temperature changes in just two generations. This assumption of fragility is yet another example of our failure to appreciate the robustness of the ecosystem.

CORAL reefs may be much better able to adapt to rising sea temperatures due to climate change than previously thought, according to a breakthrough Australian discovery revealed yesterday.

The research undertaken at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and published in the journal Nature Climate Change has overturned previously held assumptions about coral bleaching and which corals may survive in warmer waters.

According to PhD student Emily Howells, the findings demonstrate the potential for corals to adapt is more widespread than previously thought.

Further research is under way to establish the speed at which coral can adapt to rising water temperatures, and whether it will be fast enough to survive the impact of climate change.

“As with all scientific discovery it raises further questions,” Ms Howells said. “We hope to have some early results from preliminary experiments later this year.”

The latest discovery is considered important because it has radically increases [sic] the estimated scope of corals that may survive a changing environment. (source)

Given the sea surface temperatures around the GBR are pretty flat, it’s even less likely that your SUV is destroying one of the natural wonders of the world:

GBR Sea Surface Temps


  1. Lin Anderson via Facebook says:

    Darn….now they’ll have to invent another crisis to take the place of that!

  2. She is going to wake up with a horses head in her bed and a brick through her window with a note on it.

  3. Lin Anderson, whatever happens they use it as “evidence” for their shameful ridiculous claims. If we have a cold snap …it’s Global Yawning, if a warm period …it’s Global Yawning, whatever happens … for them, it’s Global Yawning!!

  4. The Loaded Dog says:

    “Photo of cute PhD student always helps”

    Hahaha. Of course it does…that was the first thing I looked at!!

  5. Bubbling CO2 into an aquarium, fresh or salt (calcium reactor), increases the growth in the tank. Just like it increases growth in a greenhouse. More CO2 also means more O2 for fish and invertebrates. The tide is turning.

  6. sillyfilly says:


    instead of taking your science from the Oz perhaps you should consult the source:

    “Recent experiments conducted at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) produced striking results, showing for the first time that corals hosting a single type of “zooxanthellae” can have different levels of thermal tolerance – a feature that was only known previously for corals with a mix of zooxanthellae.
    Zooxanthellae are algal cells that live within the tissue of living coral and provide the coral host with energy; the relationship is crucial for the coral’s survival. Rising ocean temperatures can lead to the loss of zooxanthellae from the coral host, as a consequence the coral loses its tissue colour and its primary source of energy, a process known as ‘coral bleaching’. Globally, coral bleaching has led to significant loss of coral, and with rising ocean temperatures, poses a major threat to coral reefs….
    “However, we do not yet know how fast zooxanthellae can adapt, highlighting an important area of future research”, says Bette Willis, Professor from the CoECRS at James Cook University.

    [Sillyfilly’s selective quote is again aimed at reinforcing the alarmist consensus – read the whole press release if you wish at the link – Ed]

    And as for John McLeans graph (the Galileo Movement and Australian Climate Science adviser who predicted – refer Climate Realists:
    “It is likely that 2011 will be the coolest year since 1956, or even earlier” ) he could’ve gone here instead:

    Putting paid to the assumption that “Given the sea surface temperatures around the GBR are pretty flat”. HMMM!

    [Just bear in mind that the data for the original graph is from NOAA here: Sillyfilly’s cheap smear at McLean and the Galileo movement is typical, warmist distraction. Furthermore, Sillyfilly links to a graph in which the vertical axis has been scaled to such an extent in order to make the warming look more dramatic. It’s actually 0.8˚ per century. Neither alarming nor unprecedented – Ed]

  7. sillyfilly says:

    Hey Simon,
    Can you link me to Mclean graph at that site or can you refer me to the technique he used to produce his graph from the NOAA datasets.
    That’ll ease my scepticism of his analysis.

    [McLean’s page is here – Ed]

  8. sillyfilly.
    Do you feel like a silly fish?

    Looks to me as if the long-term temperature data is pretty even.

    We’re often told that the sea temperature along the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is increasing and that soon the coral will be bleached and the reef be destroyed. But what’s the real story according to the data?

    The sea surface temperature (SST) clearly fluctuates throughout the year by about 5 degrees, typically with highest temperatures in January and lowest temperatures in August. It is also clear that The SST rises with the onset of El Nino events and falls with the onset of La Nina events.

    See tons of temperature data charts = straight lined

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