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Sunshade Cover to Save Great Barrier Reefs


Australian scientists have proposed covering endangered coral reefs with cloth to give them shade as a "last resort" to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The cloths would be anchored with ropes and float on the water surface to protect corals from sunlight, reducing heat stress which leads to the bleaching process.

The proposal, in a report published on Monday, also includes using low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate coral growth.

The paper, in the journal Nature Climate Change, claims global warming has led to temperature rises of at least 2C (3.6F) and a 60% increase in surface ocean acidity over 300 years.

Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, of Queensland University, one of the authors, called for "unconventional, non-passive methods to conserve marine ecosystems".

The paper says: "A much broader approach to marine management and mitigation options, including shade cloth, electrical current and genetic engineering must be seriously considered."

In an experiment in Queensland, researchers spread sheets of plastic mesh, similar to those used to protect vegetable patches.

Prof Hoegh-Guldberg said the technique would be useful for protecting small patches of coral but warned it would not "save the Great Barrier Reef" as a whole.

The Great Barrier Reef includes 900 coral formations stretching along 1,600 miles.





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