20 Aug 2012

New research shows coral can recover from global warming

5:22 am on 20 August 2012

New research to be presented in American Samoa this week shows that coral in the Pacific can recover from the effects of global warming.

As temperature rises, corals get too hot and turn white or bleach and some eventually die.

Dr. Doug Fenner of the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources is one of two scientists who will be presenting research at the US Coral Reef Task Force Meeting in Pago Pago on Tuesday.

He says researchers have been experimenting with shading or cooling corals so they resume their colour and recover.

"And part of our excitment is that up until now we've had nothing we could actually do about this bleaching. We've been helpless except we want to try to make our reefs really healthy so that if corals get killed, some of the corals can grow back. Well, we'd much rather not have them die in the first place."

Stanford University's Dr Steven Palumbi will also discuss his study on how corals on the American Samoa island of Ofu are able to survive high temperatures.