The world’s corals are worth hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Did you realize that, or give their economic value much thought?
These bright beauties, created by organisms often the size of poppy seeds, are the centre of many countries’ tourism industries, which often are the backbone of the country’s economy. Coral reefs protect shorelines; and the molecules that are being discovered on coral reefs are becoming increasingly important in the search for new antibiotics, and a cure for cancer.
And did you know that on one night each year, all individuals of a single species of coral will release all of the eggs they’ve made that year into the water column, packaged into bundles with sperm cells, and those packages rise to the surface of the ocean, where they break apart. Hopefully there they meet up with the sperms and eggs from other corals, and the eggs are fertilized.
We came across this TED talk by coral biologist Dr Kristen Marhaver on the importance of coral, and the work she and her research team are doing to promote coral growth. Go on, watch it… it’s absolutely fascinating: