NOVA: Reef Rescue
(DVD / G / 2021 / PBS)
Overview: If oceans continue to warm at the current pace, Coral Reefs could be wiped out by century’s end. But scientists from around the globe are rushing to help corals adapt to changing climate through assisted evolution.
Follow scientists as they attempt to crossbreed heat-resistant corals, and even transplant corals’ algae, in a race to save the Coral Reefs from extinction.
DVD Verdict: On tropical reefs around the globe, scientists are in a race against time to engineer heat-resistant super corals, and now their work is being put to the test.
Coral Reefs have been described as the cathedrals of the ocean, but beyond their beauty, they are home to over a quarter of all marine life and are crucial for ocean health and human survival.
But as climate change is warming oceans at an alarming rate, the planet’s reefs could be lost by the end of the century.
To counteract this catastrophe, scientists from the Bahamas to Hawaii to Australia are unlocking the secrets of millions of years of coral evolution — and trying to speed it up, with a technique they call assisted evolution.
Led by the visionary Coral Reef biologist Ruth Gates (March 28, 1962 – October 25, 2018), they investigate whether crossbreeding seemingly more-resilient corals with one another will produce heat-resistant offspring.
Or perhaps an algae transplant will give dying corals a second chance at survival. Can they train corals — like athletes — to be more resilient?
From living laboratories beneath the waves, to high-tech aerial surveys, to precisely controlled laboratory experimentation, this band of international scientists has come together with one determined purpose: find a way to save the coral.
In conclusion, today, coral reefs face a multitude of human-caused threats that include pollution, overfishing and destructive fishing, mismanaged tourism, and the impacts of climate change.
In fact, scientists estimate that we’ve already lost as much as half of all coral reefs since 1980, and some fear that we could lose the rest in just 30 years.
Fortunately, there are actions we can take to reduce our impacts on corals and the marine life that depends on them, and some corals — super corals — have shown resilience to anthropogenic stressors.
Now is the time to become part of the movement to protect these vital ecosystems.
Sadly, Ruth Gates was diagnosed with brain cancer at 56 years old, but died from complications during a surgery for diverticulitis, unrelated to her former diagnosis.
Gates leaves a legacy of optimism and progress in the field of marine science: Van Oppen, the Gates Coral Lab, and multiple other labs across the globe, continue to study the mechanisms of resistance to climate change and how they may be passed down generations. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
Official PBS Purchase Link