New research reveals a migration that started 40 years ago and is still believed to continue in the future. No, we are not talking about human or animal migration. We are talking about coral reefs migration. “How are they doing that?” you may ask. And why?
The answer to the last question is quite simple. Global warming. But as simple as it seems, it actually is quite worrisome. As a result of global warming, which comes with the warming of oceans and seas among other things, coral reefs have started to find new places to settle as the equatorial oceans become too warm for them.
The effects of coral reefs migration
The new study, published in Marine Ecology Progress Series journal, observed that there are with 85% fewer coral reefs at the Equator, but there are 50% more in temperate regions. Marine creatures have been doing the same relocation for quite some time. Therefore, is now too strange that coral reefs follow their steps.
Researchers’ concern is whether all these living creatures can thrive among the already existing marine fauna and flora. But they are sure of one thing. The newly settled coral reefs can help by providing a hiding place to some of the helpless species and also by caring for the new ecosystem that will develop.
The migration of coral reefs
Corals multiply by coral larvae. The coral larvae are microscopic and can either swim or flow on oceanic currents until they settle. After that, they start growing on the ocean floor in new areas. It was observed that coral reefs reached up to 35 degrees latitude not only in the north, but also south, meaning they had an equal distribution on both sides of the Equator.
What is interesting is that different families of corals started coexisting, which, under different circumstances, would have never happened. Researchers expect more and more species of corals and coralline algae to settle to new temperate regions and they hope all of them will thrive in the new territory among new living creatures.
Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.