Super Coral – the Latest Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis

bg coral reef

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Dr. Ruth Gates has a plan to protect coral from global warming – a selective breeding program to produce “super” coral – stronger, better, tougher, more resilient than natural coral.

According to HuffPost;

Because of rising water temperatures we’re now looking at the third global coral bleaching, which could be the biggest coral die off in history.

One scientist in Hawaii, Dr Ruth Gates, has come up with a way to mitigate the effects of climate change on our coral reefs.

By looking at the comparative strength of surveying corals, Dr Gates is breeding the strongest organisms to withstand even hotter temperatures and then breeding them into what she calls “super coral”.

But it’s been rebuffed by some scientists as human assisted evolution. Something Dr Gates firmly rejects.

“I wish we didn’t have to do this project… but we are here, we are at a place where there are very prominent coral reef scientists saying that reefs will be fundamentally altered and massively degraded by 2050, said Dr Gates.

Read more: Huffington Post

Let us hope Dr. Gates succeeds – because its obvious that an organism which over its 500 million year history has survived dinosaur killing asteroids, huge natural climate fluctuations, enormous volcanic eruptions which poisoned the air and water on a global scale, even natural CO2 levels many times higher than today, will be utterly helpless in the face of a few PPM of anthropogenic CO2.

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106 thoughts on “Super Coral – the Latest Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis

  1. And for her last project, she developed a system for assisting rivers in finding their way to the sea.

    • No doubt, corals will be around long after our ‘betters’ have courageously led us back to the stone age. And they’ll still be around when the reset button is hit and apes will have to start all over again on the long trek to becoming human.
      The ocean is where life hides out until it is safe to come out of the water.

  2. To paraphrase a classic British military comment by a commanding officer on one of his subordinates; “I would hesitate to breed with this woman”.
    …reefs will be fundamentally altered and massively degraded by 2050 by Dr Gates. FIFY

  3. Gee, what happens when you create / introduce something which is ‘better’ than its’ competition?
    Nahhhhh, I don’t see ANY unintended consequences here.

  4. Gosh, the improving of a species so as to better suit its environment. I wonder why Gaia never thought of doing that?

      • Probably corrected…the real data showed about the same amount of cooling, so they removed the offending floats.

    • AND that assumes that the ARGO data can be trusted.
      When ARGO was first rolled out, it showed that the oceans were cooling. This did not match the expected meme, so rather than investigating matters, NASA decided to simply take off line the ARGO buoys that showed the greatest trend in cooling. Hey presto, ARGO then provided data showing that the oceans were warming.
      Now there may have been genuine reasons to consider that the ARGO data showing cooling was suspect, after all it is generally thought that sea level is rising because of expansion caused by the warming of the oceans. But if there was genuine reason to double check the data, then proper steps should have been taken to investigate whether there was a real error and what impact that had.
      If genuine science was being conducted, one would have expected a random sample of the buoys showing the greatest trend in cooling, AND a random sample of the buoys showing the greatest trend in warming to be returned to the laboratory for evaluation; equipment testing and calibration.
      But this was not done. No steps were taken to independently check and ascertain whether there was some equipment failure/calibration issue, nor to ascertain if there was indeed some fault whether this operated in both directions. After all, if there was some fault, it may not simply have led to a return of false cooling measurements, but could equally have led to a return of false warming measurements.
      ARGO has forever been discredited by the failure to properly evaluate whether there was genuinely real equipment error/failings and if so the extent of that error/failings.
      Talk about a prior bias.

      • Exactly. If the floats are suspected of failing, the correct procedure would be to go collect the ones so suspected the next time they surface, take them to the lab and do a complete diagnostic check and calibration of the sensors. If no error is noted at that time, the good scientist then has to accept the data and declare the theory the data contradicts as nullified. At no point do we simply throw data out because it did not meet expectations – we have to show in great detail why the data thrown out was bad and the data kept was good from technical specifications of the data collection plan (i.e. show a bad voltage regulator biased a sensor or some other fault in a particular sensor biased the output – not “the data doesn’t meet theory so the data is wrong, throw it out.”)
        Idea -> theory -> prediction -> experimentation/data collection in real world -> evaluation of idea

      • Even that idea is fraught with bias as you are only going back and checking the buoys that are suspected of being too cool. At the minimum, you must check an equal number of those on the high side.

      • Stephen,
        I would be ok with that as well. One could set a comparison to neighbors and X% above or below the neighbors go pull for calibration and checkout. Note I don’t say to remove the data until it is proven that the float was faulty or well out of calibration.
        I like the idea of checking both hot and cold running floats because then we might be able to see just what the real error bars on the data are. This 0.001C tolerance nonsense is likely so far out of reality as to make the data completely unusable since the amount of change is going to be tiny and the error bars larger than the signal change expected by the theory. Electronics drift unpredictably: some up, some down and to differing amounts.

  5. Off topic – but I thought you would like to see the comment that got me banned from the Guardian this morning:

    The theory of ‘global warming’ suggested that the atmosphere’s temperature would rapidly rise to dangerous levels due to increased concentrations of CO2. However, though CO2 concentrations have risen, the horrifying projections of the 1990s have not come to pass, and they have had to be scaled back considerably to enable the theory to retain some modicum of credibility.
    Even this reduced forecast is now shown to be in error, with little of no temperature change to the present day, and the ‘divergence’ problem between model outputs and real life is now a source of acute embarrassment to the supporters of the theory.
    When will the Guardian publish a piece about this in its ‘Environment’ section?

  6. It’s $%^^^£$ additives in Sun Tan Lotions not the warmth of the oceans…. Honestly, I despair with these people….. They cant even keep up with other research…. it’s completely ludicrous

  7. It’s a %$^^&&* additive in Sun Tan Lotion that’s the issue… Honestly I despair with these people… Don’t they keep up with current research…. It’s nothing to do with Ocean temps….

    • Why, they could breed a super coral, resistant to oxybenzone in sunscreen, could not they?
      Makes a bit more sense than breeding for temperature resistance, because corals had way more opportunity to meet elevated temperatures during the last half billion years than to deal with chemicals found in flower pigments.

  8. I caught the tail end of a documentary, on ABC here in Australia the other day I think it was. The “scientists” was conducting tests on polyps (I think) where she said “…by putting them in to hot water…” she saw changes/bleaching. Wish I could find a transcript of that program.

      • That’s to be expected. It is basically a scheme by which non-producers can extort money from the producers of stuff.
        That IS what liberal insanity is.
        The claim that industry is destroying the planet and must comply with the schemes of useless academic/political/legal pontificators should come as no surprise.
        Why be industrious when you can ride on the back of other people’s risk-taking and hard work?
        It sure beats working for a living.

  9. Doable? Probably. Necessary? Probably not.
    In any case, why wouldn’t one start out with corals from places with REALLY warm Summer waters like the Persian Gulf? They very likely already ARE the supercorals that Dr Gates seeks.

    • Unless things have changed since I was last there, the species of coral that you find in Papua New Guinea are the same as you find in the Great Barrier Reef.

      • As, I believe are the corals in the Persian Gulf. But that doesn’t preclude the corals in the Persian Gulf being more heat tolerant than open ocean corals just as Siberian Huskies are probably on average more cold tolerant than Chihuahuas even though technically both breeds are canis familiaris.

  10. “super” coral – stronger, better, tougher, more resilient than natural coral.
    A Josh cartoon?
    Super coral … smarter than the average coral

    • Sounds kind’a like ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ of coral. I wonder if they’ll develop a catchy theme song, too.

      • No way, they’ll use artificial prosthetics, they can’t object to those. Otherwise, we’ll have X-Men coral if they go the genetic route.

    • Robert of Ot
      Forget ‘Super Coral’ , go with “Nuclear Coral’.
      From http://www.bikiniatoll.com/BIKINICORALS.pdf
      In the northern atolls of the Marshall Islands, 23 nuclear tests with a total yield of 76.3 megatons (TNT equivalent) were conducted across seven test sites located either on the reef, on the sea, in the air and underwater between 1946 and 1958. Five craters were created, the deepest being the Bravo crater at 73 m depth (Noshkin et al., 1997a) (Figs. 2, 3). Post-test descriptions of environmental impacts include: surface seawater temperatures raised by 55,000 C after air-borne tests; blast waves with speeds of up to 8 m/s; and shock and surface waves up to 30 m high with blast columns reaching the floor of the lagoon (approximately 70 m depth)
      The results of our 12 year long nuclear war on coral. After less than 50 years, a total of 183 scleractinian coral species were recorded, compared to 126 species recorded in the pre-bomb study. There are more species now than then.
      And from http://www.co2science.org/articles/V15/N7/EDIT.php
      And in reporting the results of a study of a large brain coral that lived throughout the 17th century on the shallow seafloor off the island of Bermuda, Cohen and Madin (2007) say that although seawater temperatures at that time and location were about 1.5°C colder than it is there today, “the coral grew faster than the corals there now.”
      Other studies have shown earth’s corals to be able to cope with climate-induced warmings as well as coolings. In a study of patch reefs of the Florida Keys, for example, Greenstein et al. (1998) found that Acropora cervicornis corals exhibited “long-term persistence” during both “Pleistocene and Holocene time,” the former of which periods exhibited climatic changes of large magnitude, some with significantly greater warmth than currently prevails on earth; and these climate changes had almost no effect on this long-term dominant of Caribbean coral reefs. Hence, there is good reason to not be too concerned about long-term changes in climate possibly harming earth’s corals. They apparently have the ability to handle whatever nature may throw at them in this regard.

      An unofficial spokesman for the Allied Coral Species Association is thought to have stated – We have survived nuclear war, climate temperature changes of over 10 degrees, planetary magnetic shifts, giant undersea lava flows and plate tectonics for over 400 million years. Frankly Ruth, we are personally more worried about you.

      • How many researchers were eaten by the Marshall Island coral before they could finish their count?

  11. We are rapidly leaving the golden age of rational and productive, optimistic humanism and entering a dark irrational world squandering the greatness of our heritage. This lunatic parasite posing as a scientist is seeking a non-starter solution for a non-existent problem that could imperil the rest of the entire ocean.

  12. I suspect what many comments above are alluding to here is that the coral itself will be performing this self same selective breeding process for itself.
    Every offspring in every generation of every coral polyp will be a little experiment in it’s own right. If it’s happier than it’s siblings in water 0.01C warmer, it will breed faster and/or more, and it’s offspring will fill the void left by those that don’t suit their environment quite so well.
    I really don’t believe that any selective breeding program, breeding for survival, can improve on that process.

  13. Does Dr Ruth Gates not know from what the name “Cretaceous” was derived? A time, 65 to 110 million years ago, when there were NO ice caps, the seas washed over ALBERTA, and Coral reefs and pelagic coccoliths dominated the very warm oceans? WHAT DRUGS DO THEY THINK WE ARE TAKING to fall for this crap?

    • They are counting on the mass drugging of disseminated propaganda to keep the public nodding in bewildered agreement.

    • It is more like “What kind of drug is SHE taking to make up this kind of crap? Seeing that she is “working” in Hawaii, I wonder if she is on the “Choom Gang”?

  14. In 10 years we’ll being enthralled at the theatre by ‘Coralnado, Attack of the Super Coral’, because by then sharks will be extinct, having been eaten by the super coral

    • Coral can cut your feet to shreds. Now consider super coral! Any boat will be shredded along with the captain. Luxury Liners filled with tourists trying to moor near shore will turn into carnage fit for the big screen! The seas will be red with the blood of animals unfortunate enough to swim near these super creatures! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Coming to a theater near you.

      • In ’76 the spring break trip was to Honolulu when my girlfriend stepped on coral and spent a couple of days in the hospital with blood poisoning. The doctor said it was trying to colonize in the bloodstream. Scary enough for me.

  15. Johnny tell the contestants and our studio audience what wonderful prizes we have behind curtin number 1.
    We have a new car and a cozy beach bungalow with majestic views of the Pacific Ocean.
    To stay busy during the day we’ve arranged amusing all expenses paid diversions in coral breeding.
    Sign me up

  16. Overall, it sounds like she is in a “no lose” situation.
    If she does anything and coral continues to thrive, which it most likely will, she can claim that her efforts “saved the coral”.
    Brilliant!

    • Actually Bill Nye is now being taken to task for his endorsement of GMOs. Perhaps it will instruct him in the insanity of the warmists/ anti GMO/ anti vaxer/ anti nuke greens who have promoted the world view he has decided to help along. Maybe not but it sure would be fun if he could be taken aside by a Judith Curry and discover you can be a scientist and still disagree with ideologues in lab coats.

      • @fossilage===> It would be terribly uplifting if a TV friend & “champion of science” from my childhood (well, my kids’ childhood anyway) could be saved from the blithering illogic he has lately championed.
        It’s one thing to have a different opinion; it’s another to shout at an ever-louder volume in an attempt to win the argument, when most of the words being used have long been factually invalidated.

  17. Unintended consequences? Nah. These are all “remedies” to get in front of non-threatened nature. The hysteria to get mitigation idiocy going at a quick pace is so that they can take credit for what nature is already doing – cooling. The coral have recently been reported to be doing fine. With GMO coral they will be able to say they save this non-threatened family from being wiped out. The proof? In 2050 they’ll be able to say the coral is fine, it worked. I worry about unintended consequences – also, I’m beginning to realize that although I am a geologist and engineer, I’m probably a better biologist than the current crop of PhD’s just from my high school and paleontology studies

  18. Some people just can’t resist the urge to meddle. I suggest we release a butterfly in the Brazilian rain forest. If chaos theory has taught me anything, that will change the climate in only 6 months.

  19. Dr. Ruth will surely become known to future generations as the Typhoid Mary of corals and will be singularly reviled as a mad scientist who put science aside to carry out a bad idea. This doesn’t even rate a “what could go wrong?” post. This is madness.

  20. Ahh, the mortal illusion of control…
    Somewhere in the seas, coral is beginning colonization of a presently benevolent microcosm while elsewhere, a change in paradigm ends their cycle of proliferation and another type of life profits from that change in the ecosystem.
    We assume that we are somehow the omnipresent and omnipotent owners of all the least explored and understood aspects of this planet and the heliosphere in which it orbits.
    Mankind is still in a youthful stage of impetuous arrogance, thinking we have seen and done all that there is and have learned enough to manipulate everything we survey. The intensity of this self-illusion has invoked guilt in our collective conscience through the observation of small-scale affectations of unintended consequence, which bolster the mirage of human omnipotence.
    Even if humans had a thousand year lifespan, we would still “only see a few frames of the whole movie”.

  21. Why do liberals believe they are God ???? I’m an Agnostic person, but I’m pretty sure I’m still a mere Human !!!

  22. Coral bleaching. Oh no!!!! The ocean is becoming bleachified:
    “The pH of bleach is around 12 depending on manufacturer. All bleaches are highly basic or alkaline, hence the reason for their high pH values. The most common brand of bleach, Clorox, is 6% sodium hypochlorite and has a pH of 12.6.”
    Wait a minute – I thought…

  23. so let me get this straight,these environmentalists have falsely accused “man” of altering our naturally occurring Climate to justify their plans to alter nature. Brilliant!

  24. California’s most productive fisheries? Offshore oil rigs
    A survey of the fish life shows that they vastly outperform natural reefs.
    One of the more unusual recent developments in ocean conservation has been the use of artificial reefs. Old ships and even old subway cars have been used to create environments for fish to congregate in areas of the seafloor that are otherwise featureless. But it’s not clear whether these habitats provide a place for fish to gather or actually boost the fish populations in the area.
    A new study looked at the productivity of a different sort of artificial reef: the oil and natural gas rigs that dot the state’s coastline. The report finds that the oil rigs are the most productive fisheries ever measured—not only in California but in the entire world. The report notes that many of these platforms will be obsolete over the coming decades, and we might want to think about what we do when we’re done using them for their original purpose.
    There are different ways of measuring an ecosystem’s productivity. One is primary productivity, or how much carbon dioxide is converted into useful organic molecules by plants and other photosynthetic organisms. Then there’s secondary productivity, defined as how much of that finds its way to herbivores and predators. In this case, the authors were interested in fish, so they focused on secondary productivity.
    To measure the productivity, they relied on an annual survey performed with a remotely operated vehicle. Different sites were visited for at least five years, some as many as 15, with fish abundance and species assessed visually. Total biomass was also estimated from this data, and the change in biomass between years was then normalized to the area of seafloor covered by the survey.

  25. “Because of rising water temperatures we’re now looking at the third global coral bleaching, which could be the biggest coral die off in history.”
    This is the 3rd? So then the history appears to be quite short. Suppose that your weather history is so short that it shows only three episodes of rain in your area – and this third one might just turn out to be the biggest downpour in history!
    Might there be a natural cycle of bleaching? With a very short history (and what kind of “global” coverage?) how could you rule out that it’s not CAGW. Oh, I forgot; the lunatics just assume that it IS CAGW.

  26. Coral likes warmer waters. Coral grows better in warm water. There are corals in the Persian Gulf, north Queensland, the Caribbean, off the coast of Belize in Central America, in Hawaii, and the Red Sea. Coral does not need special warm water training, it is already very happy with that.
    This is just more nonsense in search of grants or funding.

  27. “…One scientist in Hawaii, Dr Ruth Gates, has come up with a way to mitigate the effects of climate change on our coral reefs.
    By looking at the comparative strength of surveying corals, Dr Gates is breeding the strongest organisms to withstand even hotter temperatures and then breeding them into what she calls “super coral”…”

    Oh yeah! That’s gonna save Mother Earth and all of humanity!
    Let alone the sheer hubris that someone could breed a better coral than nature did or could. One would expect such an expert would know absolutely everything about all coral… In today’s anti science climate science world?
    Lead on Dr. Ruth; you need to find ‘private’ funding from those deep eco pockets!

  28. “Coral calcium is composed primarily of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), with small amounts of magnesium and other trace minerals.”
    In others words more CO2 will be good for reefs.

  29. Ruth Gates can be educated by the thousands of us amatuer marine reef aquarists who have been propagating resistant coral species in glass box captivity for more years than the number on her common sense score.

      • In fact they proliferated then…from Wikipedia:
        “Although corals first appeared in the Cambrian period,[27] some 542 million years ago, fossils are extremely rare until the Ordovician period, 100 million years later, when rugose and tabulate corals became widespread”

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