Saving reefs in a warming ocean
Giving corals a dose of probiotics to boost health and improves survival during heat stress.
The Great Barrier Reef is a unique and critical ecosystem already seeing the effects of climate change with warmer water temperatures and coral bleaching threatening our Reef and the marine life that call it home.
Probiotics have been widely and successfully used to improve both human and animal health. However, their use in marine ecosystems has been largely unexplored. Until now.
Just like us, corals rely on a host of good bacteria to help keep them healthy and, just like us, the balance between good and bad bacteria is often disrupted in times of stress.
1. Grow beneficial microorganisms
2. Enrich zooplankton with probiotics
3. Feed the zooplankton enriched with probiotics to the coral
4. Run stress tests on the corals
5. Corals that received probiotics are in better health
This innovative technology will now be used to boost the health of corals reared in labs before they are transported out to the Reef as part of the world’s largest coral reef program.
Tests are underway on different species of coral to refine which groups of good bacteria are the best for each species.
New methods are also being investigated to scale up the application for use on coral reefs, such as delivering parcels of slow release probiotics to targeted reefs during times of heat stress.