Coral reefs are being threatened with extinction from global warming, causing temperatures in oceans to rise. If our oceans warm by just °2C, %99 of the world’s corals could perish. Pollution and disease are also threatening the health of coral reefs worldwide.
KAUST discovered that by treating corals with beneficial bacteria – known as coral probiotics – coral reefs can become more resilient to warming oceans. Researchers demonstrated that treated corals could even survive a 4°C increase in temperature. Coral probiotics also can be used to protect corals from other threats like pollution and disease.
KAUST researchers are building a repository of Red Sea microorganisms. They are collecting and cataloging these for their suitability to be used as mitigators of environmental stress, like warming, disease and pollution, as well as for environmental restoration and rehabilitation.
KAUST recently led the creation of the Coral Probiotics Village – an underwater research site in the Red Sea. Here they will test different approaches to coral conservation. Mainly focused on customized medicines for corals, they will create tools for coral conservation worldwide.