Water Guide: Sunscreen for Coral Reefs

Written by: Michelle Lee

We’ve all heard of the coral reefs in recent years. The Great Barrier Reefs have been under extreme stress recently due to the negative effects of climate change like warmer waters and more acidic oceans. Recently, large portions of the Reefs have been wiped out, bleached to the point where no large lifeforms exist anymore. The Coral Reefs are one of the most diverse locations on earth, meaning that the world will suffer a great loss if the Coral Reefs die off.

Scientists have been fighting against time to recover the Great Barrier Reefs and to breed new life back into the area. One new tool that is being researched is an ultra-thin “sunscreen,” offering protection against the harsher weather now being experienced in the ocean and increased UV rays. In Australia, scientists have made an ultra-thin layer of carbon carbonate that is applied to the water above the coral reefs, making a barrier against the harsher climate. The screen would be one molecule, just enough to protect the reefs below and thin enough where other lifeforms are not harmed. The material reflects the UV rays and allows the coral reefs to adapt over time.

Tourism has increased to see the dying Great Barrier Reefs before they disappear forever and increased conservation has appeared to save the world heritage site. The new technology could be exactly what the world needs right now.

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