Sunday, August 06, 2017

Oxygen can't hit any closer to home to realize that a carbon sink, such as corals, are real, needed and vital to life on Earth.

August 5, 2017
By Elizabeth Djinis
Key West — A strange scene (click here) plays out in the depths below the clear azure water of Key West’s Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park on a recent morning, one that doesn’t quite fit with the serene ambiance of the area.
About a quarter-mile offshore, two Mote Marine Laboratory scientists dive into the water, holding trays with tiny pieces of coral mounted on a ceramic base. They delicately grasp each circular piece, resembling something one might see at a dinner party — a mini-quiche or canape — and place them gingerly into the rock, nearly 15 feet below the surface.
Soon, scientists expect the 320 pieces of coral planted in late July will grow and fuse into full-size mountain star coral, which will spawn and produce coral of its own. The nearly 6,000 coral fragments planted last year in an underwater landscape mere meters from this one have already begun what David Vaughan, executive director of Mote’s newly completed Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration, calls “re-skinning.” It will take them two to three years to fully come together, but Vaughan said their progress is a positive indicator for the 7,000 corals they planted in another section this year.
“This is the good news — that’s what’s different,” Vaughan said. “This is now a turnaround that we can make a difference growing corals. But it’s not over.”
Corals have been under attack in the world’s oceans for some time. In the 1970s, Vaughan said, the Florida Keys lost 20 percent of their corals through bleaching, a process in which changes in conditions such as temperature can stress and kill them, turning them white and causing the algae inside them to leave. The Florida Keys have experienced bleaching in 12 of the last 14 years, he adds, and in 2005, half of the coral reefs in the Caribbean were lost to a bleaching event.
Vaughan grows frustrated when he hears from climate-change deniers who contest the destruction of coral and its importance....

It is time to love Earth again. Scientists can make that love interesting, wholesome and easy.