WASHINGTON — Some of the nation’s leading coral scientists stressed Thursday that the situation facing coral reefs is nothing short of desperate — and a drastic cut in global carbon dioxide emissions won’t be enough to protect corals from deadly bleaching events and other environmental threats.
In hopes of giving the reefs a fighting chance, a newly formed committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine will review a variety of potential intervention strategies, from genetic modification of coral species to spraying salt water into the atmosphere to shade and cool reefs.
Coral bleaching is a phenomenon in which stressed corals expel algae and turn white, often as a result of warming ocean temperatures. If not given time to recover, bleached corals can perish. The recent event — just the third global bleaching event in recorded history — devastated reefs around the globe. Among the hardest hit …