2 Apr 2012

Scientists warn coral more resilient to ocean warming still at risk

6:33 pm on 2 April 2012

Scientists behind new research on coral in the central Pacific Ocean are warning that reefs which are resilient to ocean warming are still in danger from the effects of climate change.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has found some species, used to temperature changes in Kiribati, had resisted coral bleaching events caused by temperature rises in 2004 and 2009.

A researcher, Jessica Carilli, says large boulder-shaped coral such as Porites may live longer than branching-type species but are still severely at risk.

"It's not necessarily cause for complete celebration but it's a little bit of hope that corals can adapt quickly enough to climate change if they persist longer into the future than people had thought."

Jessica Carilli says research is now being carried out into coral that has been less exposed to temperature fluctuations.