The Enigma of the Resilient Eilat Coral Reefs
The assumption is that these corals developed an ability to adapt to the hot temperatures in the region
Global warming and changes in the marine environment are causing the global population of corals to dwindle at an alarming rate – but in the Gulf of Eilat, of all places, the coral reef appears to be thriving (at least until the storm that hit the area in April 2020). Prof. Maoz Fine of Bar-Ilan’s Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat explores the enigma of the resilient Israeli-Jordanian reefs, in a study which includes scientists from Israel, Monaco and Jordan.
Over the last 30 years, the global coral population has shrunk by 50%. The phenomenon, severe as it may be, further points to the destructive ramifications of climate change on the ecosystem. What protects the corals of the Gulf of Eilat? The assumption is that the corals have developed, through natural selection processes over thousands of years, an ability to adapt to the hot temperatures in the region.
Prof. Fine is optimistic regarding the resilience of the coral reefs in the Gulf of Eilat to climate change, but it is a very cautious optimism, since other than higher temperatures, the reefs are also threatened by oil contamination, plastic waste and other manmade disruptions.
Fields: Nature and Ecology, Sciences