Australian Institute of Marine Science

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is a tropical marine research agency located in Townsville. We occasionally help the Institute communicate its work.

On June 26 we helped AIMS announce a paper they collaborated on, published in Science: corals have the genes to adapt to warmer oceans. Press kit below. For more, contact Niall on 0417-131-977 or niall@scienceinpublic.com.au

Townsville and Texas researchers discover a genetic basis to temperature tolerance in coral. And it likely depends on ‘mum’s genes’.

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A team of Australian and US scientists have discovered that corals already have the genes to tolerate global warming. It may only be a matter of shuffling them to where they are most needed.

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Far Nothern GBR_by LK Bay

Far Northern Great Barrier Reef. Reefs around the world are threatened by climate change. A new study shows that some corals have the genes to adapt to warmer oceans. Credit: Line K Bay, AIMS

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Corals are already adapting to global warming, scientists say

AUSTIN, Texas — Some coral populations already have genetic variants necessary to tolerate warm ocean waters, and humans can help to spread these genes, a team of scientists from The University of Texas at Austin, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Oregon State University have found. The discovery has implications for many reefs now threatened by global warming and shows for the first time that mixing and matching corals from different latitudes may boost reef survival.

The findings were published this week in the journal Science.

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Coral trout in protected ‘green zones’ are not only bigger and more abundant than those in fished ‘blue zones’ of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, but they are also better able to cope with cyclone damage, according to a long-term study published today in Current Biology.

Coral trout biomass has more than doubled since the 1980s in the green zones with most of the growth occurring since the 2004 rezoning. These and other changes identified by the study show that the green zones are contributing to the health of the Great Barrier Reef and that similar approaches may be beneficial for coral reefs around the world. Read the full article →

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EMBARGO LIFTED: 4am AEDT, Thursday 24 October 2013

Nature paper reveals coral animals produce the ‘smell of the ocean’ – influencing cloud formation and protecting themselves against rising seawater temperatures. 

Australian marine scientists have found the first evidence that coral itself may play an important role in regulating local climate.

They have discovered that the coral animal—not just its algal symbiont—makes an important sulphur-based molecule with properties to assist it in many ways, ranging from cellular protection in times of heat stress to local climate cooling by encouraging clouds to form.

These findings have been published in the prestigious weekly science journal Nature.

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Media release from Senator the Hon Kim Carr and Senator the Hon Jan McLucas.

A new, $37 million experimental sea simulator will enable Australian scientists to recreate ocean conditions and study how both human activities and natural events will affect our marine environment in the future.

Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Senator Kim Carr and Senator for Queensland Jan McLucas opened the National Sea Simulator (SeaSim), at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville today.

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Prototype 3SeaSim – the National Sea Simulator – opened in Townsville by Innovation Minister Carr

Event: 12noon-2.30pm, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, North Queensland

Visuals: Aquaria with specimens, scientists available for interview, reef footage, crown-of-thorns starfish.

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