For Charlie Veron, the veteran marine biologist, new evidence of the prospect of “super corals” offers the prospect of more time for the world’s coral reefs hard-hit by climate change.
Dr Veron, who earned the moniker of the “godfather of coral” for naming about one-fifth of the world’s corals, has just returned from a mission funded by donations to locate corals unusually resilient to the past two summers of severe bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.
“There were endless hectares of what used to be luxurious corals, which are now totally dead,” Dr Veron said in Port Douglas at the end of a three-week expedition by the Great Barrier Reef Legacy.
However, in some outer reefs off far north Queensland, corals were found by the scientists to have fared relatively well, offering signs that critical biodiversity had survived.
The researchers hope these corals can be harnessed to help other regions recover before the next bleaching bout.
And in one location, in an undisclosed site off Lockhart River, Dr Veron said he and his fellow divers accidently located a reef “so diverse I’d never seen the likes of it” in decades of research.