Reef briefs: Some good news for reefs

Singapore's first coral nursery welcomed new inhabitants yesterday.

Once deemed healthy, the corals will then be transplanted to other reefs around Singapore, where the hope is that they will continue growing and spawning more colonies. The nursery was set up to conserve and regenerate Singapore's dwindling coral numbers.

There are over 250 different species of coral in the reefs around Singapore, said Professor Chou Loke Ming of NUS' department of biological sciences. 'If we do nothing, Singapore's reefs could be gone in the next 30 years.'

Meanwhile, reefs and marinelife are found flourishing at the Bikini Atoll atomic test site!

Coral is again flourishing in the crater left by the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated by the United States, 54 years after the blast on Bikini Atoll, marine scientists said on Tuesday.

A team of research divers visited Bravo crater, ground zero for the test of a thermonuclear weapon in the remote Marshall Islands on March 1, 1954, and found large numbers of fish and coral growing, although some species appeared locally extinct.

At the same time, corals in Eritrea hold out hope for reefs in global warming. Experts say this small Horn of Africa nation has some of the most pristine coral reefs left anywhere worldwide, a "global hotspot" for marine diversity supporting thousands of species.

The remote reefs are exciting scientists, who see in Eritrea's waters a chance of hope amidst increasingly bleak predictions for the future of coral reefs -- if sea temperatures rise as forecast due to global climate change.

Unlike the deeper, cooler waters elsewhere in the Red Sea, Eritrea's large expanses of shallow -- and therefore hotter -- waters have created corals uniquely capable of coping with extremes of heat, scientists say.

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