Israel has joined forces with seven other countries in a bid to save the beautiful corals that line the shores of the Red Sea.
The alliance will include Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Israel, all of which border the Red Sea.
The countries will come together to form the Red Sea Transnational Research Center, which will be managed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, to study the Red Sea’s vast coral reefs and how they’ve managed to resist bleaching effects that have led to the imminent collapse of other reefs around the world.
According to Israeli researcher Professor Maoz Fine, a marine biologist from the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University, the Swiss institute will act as a ‘neutral umbrella’ to overlook the research and liaise between the countries.
Coral’s ability to survive is threatened by rising sea temperatures influenced by global warming, leading to huge swaths of coral dying, meaning millions of fish are left without protection and food.
As reported by Times of Israel, Fine said:
Now in French Polynesia and Sri Lanka and other places there are huge bleaching events, it’s really happening in a very small time frame that we’re losing the corals
In the last 30 years we have lost 50 per cent of the coral around the world.
However, in 2017, Fine and the Swiss uni revealed the coral in the northern Red Sea was highly resistant to the bleaching effects that come from rising global temperatures.
This is because the Red Sea has acted as a type of ‘thermal refuge,’ which means that corals have been able to survive in higher temperatures and acidification. The same type of corals that live in the Red Sea are also found in other parts of the world experiencing widespread bleaching.
Now, Fine is looking to find out which gene specifically allows the coral to survive in higher temperatures, in an attempt to help other corals become more resilient to global warming. However, he and his Swiss team found that the data for other parts of the Red Sea was severely lacking, both in quantity of data as well as in the quality.
With the Transnational Research Center, Swiss researchers will work individually with each country to place hundreds of monitors around the Red Sea, to gather real time data measuring temperature, current and wind.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.