Coral Vita is a start-up with a plan to help out the coral reefs that are under threat. In short, it is building a land-based coral farm, where it plans to grow coral that can be transplanted to underwater locations. This is a significant change from standard coral farming, which is why interested individuals might want to keep a watchful eye on Coral Vita.
For those who are curious, standard coral filming happens underwater, which makes sense because corals are underwater species. The coral farming process consists of coral farmers removing pieces of coral, putting them in beneficial conditions to encourage their growth, and then transplanting the results to coral reefs that have sustained damage for one reason or another. However, underwater farming comes with a host of challenges that can't be found in its land-based counterpart, not least because it happens underwater.
At Coral Vita's land-based coral farm, the plan is to create something similar but not the same. Its coral farming process will retain the same basic steps, but its land-based nature will enable it to use methods that would be either impossible or impractical beneath the waves. For example, Coral Vita is planning to use a process called microframentation, which possesses the promise to speed up the growth of some coral species by as much as 50 times. Likewise, Coral Vita wants to exert increased control over the corals' growing conditions in an attempt to make them more resistant to common threats such as higher temperatures and the increased acidification of ocean water. Assuming that Coral Vita's plans live up to their promise, its land-based coral farm could prove to be much more effective and efficient than its underwater counterparts.
Why Is Coral Vita's Mission So Important?
As for why this matters, well, coral reefs are dying at a rapid pace. In fact, the die-off has been so fast that there are reports that the world has lost about half of its coral reefs within the last 30 years. Moreover, this isn't the end of it because there are further reports that the world could lose more than 90 percent of its coral reefs by 2050, which isn't even the worst case scenario because this prediction is based on the assumption that humans will be able to bring climate change under control.
Simply put, this is catastrophic for a wide range of reasons. For example, coral reefs are responsible for producing a considerable percentage of the oxygen that we breathe via their photosynthesis. Likewise, coral reefs serve as barriers for coastlines, thus preventing them from being hit by the full force of storms. However, the single most critical point might be how coral reefs serve as habitats for one in four marine species. In other words, if we lose the coral reefs, that would result in widespread consequences so severe that their effects would be unpredictable to us. However, considering the huge number of humans who are counting on the ocean for food, for tourism, and for other important purposes, the impact will not be pleasant to say the least.
What Can Be Done about Coral Reefs in the Long Run?
Coral Vita cannot save coral reefs on their own. This is because coral reefs are being threatened by a wide range of practices and patterns. Some examples include pollution, blast fishing, and bottom dragging, while others range from rising temperatures to increasing acidification of ocean water caused by the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere. Based on this, it should be clear that counting on a single start-up to save coral reefs would be very foolish indeed.
However, what Coral Vita can do is to buy time. It can't save the coral reefs on its own, but it can slow the rate at which they are dying off by transplanting its products to the place that have sustained serious damage. Theoretically, the countries of the world will be able to use that time to make the changes needed to save the coral reefs before they are rendered extinct, but in practice, well, it remains to be seen whether the world will pull together in time or not, particularly since the issue is so time-sensitive.
Written by Garrett Parker
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