Scientists develop a sun shield that could protect coral reefs from rising temperatures, according to a report published on March 27, 2018.
This protective film, which is 50,000 times thinner than a human hair is useful in protecting the coral reefs from warming. This layer of protection is available on the surface of water and not directly on the coral reefs. According to the scientists, this will provide effective cooling and prevent coral bleaching. This protective film is made of calcium carbonate, which is the same substance that makes up the coral skeletons.
Scientists conducted small-scale trials using this method and encouraging results were obtained. The effectiveness of the film on seven different coral species that were in simulated coral bleaching event conditions was tested by the scientists. Light that was directly falling on the coral reefs was reduced by up to 30 percent, as the film was used. It also reduced the levels of coral bleaching, which is a major threat to the coral-rich areas across the globe. In 2016, largest number of coral death due to coral bleaching was recorded.
The increasing level of stress faced by corals due to rise in temperature causes the corals to expel the algae, which leads to coral bleaching. Algae is responsible for providing energy to the corals. This threat has particularly led to the invention of protective film. Also, this film is biodegradable and therefore, it does not have any negative impacts on the environment.
Anna Marsden, managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation said that this solution to protect coral reefs from increasing temperature cannot be applied across all 348,000 square kilometers of the Great Barrier Reef. However, parts of the reef, which are at a higher risk can be protected using this method.