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Kansas City scientists are spawning reef-building coral in a lab at the Stowers Institute

Stowers Institute
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, between 70-90% of coral species will die by 2050 if drastic measures to limit global warming aren’t taken now.

Scientists at Kansas City’s Stowers Institute for Medical Research are studying reef-building coral in a lab to better understand how it’s being impacted by climate change and, hopefully, to find a way to keep these precious animals alive.

Often referred to as the “rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth, providing food and habitat for a quarter of all marine life.

And these small but mighty marine invertebrates are in dire straits: according to the United Nations Environment Programme, 70-90% of coral species will die by 2050 if drastic measures to limit global warming aren’t taken now.

Matt Gibson, an investigator at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, studies reef-building coral in a lab in Kansas City. He told KCUR's Up To Date that his team is spawning coral in the hopes of better understanding why it's so sensitive to rising temperatures.

“We're in a crisis, where in the very near future, many of these species will be lost,” he said. “And so, what can we learn about their fundamental biology, and how could we possibly intervene to help protect and restore coral reefs in the ocean?"

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