Finding New Life At A Lost Reef
Source: The Columbus Dispatch
August 19, 2008
In October 2005, Hurricane Wilma slammed Mexico's Caribbean coastline, wiping away the Paraiso Reef and 10 years of research on at-risk species conducted by Philip Whitford, a Capital biology professor. Whitford decided he and his students would wait to see whether coral larvae that flow down the Gulf Stream settled on the rubble along Cozumel. The hope was that they could shift their focus from a threatened reef to one that is reborn; to be among the first to watch a reef re-establish itself and spy which species show up first and flourish. Experts say it's a great idea. Tracking the reef's recovery process could help scientists understand how to repair reefs in the future. "Coral reefs have been around for millions of years. They are equipped to recover quite rapidly with no stressors," said Brian Huse, executive director of the conservation group Coral Reef Alliance. "Understanding how reefs recover and what those stressors do is very important."
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