Some coral species are better at adapting to climate change than others, a new study has revealed.
The research, which was published in the journal Science on Thursday, was conducted by a group of international researchers in Australia.
In many parts of the world, coral reefs are declining fast due to pollution, warming seas, disease and storms.
Researchers tested several samples of coral reefs from several locations with hot and cold climates from across Australia.
When they cross-bred the coral reefs, they found that those with parents that came from warmer waters were 10 times more likely to stay alive under heat pressure, as compared to their counterparts from cooler waters.
This, according to the scientists, suggested that the animals had some natural resilience in their genetic makeup.
“Our research found that corals do not have to wait for new mutations to appear,” Mikhail Matz, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin, told AFP.
Some of the coral reefs observed by the researchers showed that they may be also able to pass their DNA onto the next generation.
“What is exciting about this study is [that] it is the first time people have actually cross-bred corals from different thermal regimes — in this case different latitudes — and then looked at the heritability of thermal tolerance which is obviously a big question in terms of figuring out whether and how corals are going to adapt to climate change in the coming century or so,” said Andrew Baker, associate professor of marine biology and ecology at the University of Miami Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
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