Climate Change Threatens Deep Sea Corals In North Atlantic

First Posted: Nov 29, 2016 04:42 AM EST

A new study warns that climate change has begun to upset North Atlantic coral populations.

Times Of India reported that a study conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburg in the U.K. found out that a cold-water coral species called Lophelia pertusa is under a climate change threat. Published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, researchers have discovered some important factors that affect the preservation of corals in this part of the ocean.

These corals, which serve as a safe area for reproduction and as protection for various forms of marine life against dangerous predators, have been affected by gradual weather changes that control ocean currents. Corals are known to be maintained by vulnerable tiny larvae that are drifted by ocean currents between reefs where they are growing.

With the use of generated computer models, the researchers stimulated the larvae migration across the North Atlantic. This study aimed to give researchers an accurate prediction on the possible effects of weather changes in the long-term survival of Lophelia pertusa.

According to results, these ocean currents could possibly drive these larvae away from important sites where they should be remaining. This threatens the coral population in a new marine network that these larvae support.

EurekAlert reported that Scotland's network of Marie Protected Areas (MPAs) was discovered by researchers to be weakly connected, which means it is possible for climate change to destroy.

"We can't track larvae in the ocean, but what we know about their behaviour allows us to simulate their epic journeys, predicting which populations are connected and which are isolated," said study author Dr. Alan Fox from the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences in a press release.

Dr. Fox added that, "In less well connected coral networks, populations become isolated and cannot support each other, making survival and recovery from damage more difficult."

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