3 Apr 2012

Coral researcher says resilient types still vulnerable to climate change

1:16 pm on 3 April 2012

A Pacific coral reef researcher says coral that can adapt to warmer temperatures is not new to science and does not mean it can survive all ocean warming events.

Simon Davy's comments follow findings by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation that some coral, used to temperature changes in Kiribati are capable of resisting coral bleaching events which can result from ocean warming.

Mr Davy, who is an Associate Professor in Marine Biology at Victoria University in Wellington, says the research does not indicate coral can defeat the effects of climate change.

"So I think what this work's actually is that some of the species will die off. Others which are able to tolerate elevated temperatures for a longer period of time are likely to benefit as a result by taking over the available space."

Simon Davy says the research proves some types of coral which have survived ocean warming tend to become more resistant to further temperature gains and live longer.