A group of Australian scientists have developed a "sunshade" that they hope can help prevent coral bleaching spreading across the Great Barrier Reef, reports the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF)
An ultra-thin, biodegradable film that is 50,000 times thinner than a human hair and contains calcium carbonate, the same ingredients use coral to make their tough skeletons, the GBRF said in a statement.
The film is "designed to sit on the surface of the water above the coral rather than directly on the coral to provide an effective barrier against the sun," said the foundation, which collaborated with the University of Melbourne and Sponsored by the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, the project is still in its early stages and has been tested in a small scale research effort, but the team has been able to prove that this film turns the sunlight around
"Scientists have tested the effectiveness of single-molecule thick film on seven different coral species under simulated coral bleaching event conditions in the AIMS National Simulation Simulator (SeaSim)," Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing, "director Anna Marsden said
The project was also developed to explore new ways of treating coral bleaching on the Great Ba rrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system.
"It is important to note that this is not intended to be a solution that can be applied across the entire 348,000 square kilometer Great Barrier Reef ̵
According to the Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, unprecedented coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017 damaged areas of about 1500 kilometers of the Great Barrier Reef, two-thirds of the total.
The health of the Great Barrier Reef – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to around 400 species of corals, 1500 species of fish and 4000 mollusc species – began to deteriorate in the 1990s as a result of the dual influence of warming seawater and increased acidity due to the greater presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.