Scientists warn extreme sea temperatures could cause a “historic” coral reef die-off around the world over, following a massive coral bleaching event in fall 2014 in the North Pacific. A huge swathe of the Pacific was affected, including the Northern Marianas Islands, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Hawai‘i, and Kiribati. Some areas recorded serious bleaching for the first time, and experts said the coral die-off could be the worst in nearly two decades.
Documentary filmmaker Craig Musburger turned to Ruth Gates of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology to learn about a solution to this problem. Gates is focused on understanding the processes that happen inside living corals in hopes of understanding how we might be able to help these animals survive the climatic conditions of the future.
“Her approach might surprise you,” Musburger wrote in The Huffington Post. “She explains it as ‘putting corals on environmental treadmills.’ She is attempting to turn on traits that corals already possess within their own DNA, in a virtual arms race against a warming ocean.”