Fund a Research Expedition to the Giant Corals
The Big Problem: Corals are bleaching. These events are being reported in the news, but what does this mean for how we understand our planet?
Massive coral colonies are remarkable. They can live for centuries the whole time depositing skeletons with annual layers like tree rings. The geochemistry of the skeleton can be used to generate seasonally resolved records of tropical ocean surface temperature, salinity and rainfall conditions extending back 300-400 years. But these records, and the corals that contain them, are under threat from recent severe coral bleaching episodes. These episodes, triggered by warmer ocean conditions and an increase in stress to the coral, causes an expulsion of the algae (zooxanthellae) living in the coral’s tissues. The disruption in this symbiotic relationship further stresses the corals, creating a negative feedback. While some corals may recover, large-scale bleaching events, like those that damaged reefs in the South Pacific in 2000 and 2016, threaten to kill the corals and cause their rapid bio-erosion.
Once gone, the corals, and the story they tell about our planet’s past, are lost to us forever.
How We Can Help: The Scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are world leaders in climate and Earth science research. By journeying to our planet’s most remote places, we seek to understand the Earth’s history in an effort to make informed predictions about the future. We stand ready to launch an immediate expedition to the South Pacific (Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Tavalu and Tokelau) to continue our on-going research to catalog the coral record in this area. In addition to preserving climate and ocean records, by sampling healthy and recently bleached corals we hope to establish a baseline for historical bleaching events. This baseline will provide important context to the ocean-wide events taking place today.
What Your Support Will Do: Your contribution will directly fund the time our researchers spend on, and in, the water: studying, cataloging and collecting data from massive corals. And while a foundation has agreed to help our team get started, we need your help to close the funding gap, purchase time on a local research vessel and get our wetsuits in the water!
Be a part of this important mission to preserve this unique record by donating today.
Share our mission: Please share our project with your friends, colleagues and fellow ocean lovers.
To lean more about the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, our research and scientists, visit our website.
Thank you for your support!