Glimmer of Dope

Image clipped from the film.

Lazy title puns aside, Gaelin Rosenwaks is a woman after my own heart. Faced with the doom and gloom of most marine and environmental science reporting (which is valid and important, just soul-crushing to read after a while), she’s chasing down bright spots so we can all still get the warm and fuzzies now and again.

In her latest mini-doc, Palau Coral: Glimmer of Hope, she explores how reefs of this island nation are spitting in the face of the conventional wisdom – that corals will lose their battle with people-powered climate change. (If you’re wondering why Palau sounds familiar, it’s def the jellyfish lake). See, it turns out Palau has inshore reefs that are subject to conditions quite similar to what’s expected pretty much everywhere in the coming decades: much warmer and more acidic when compared to the nation’s offshore reefs. The same species of coral inhabit – and thrive in – both locations, so the kicker for scientists is to understand why. You should absolutely watch the video (it’s only 8 minutes), but scientists believe it has to do with feeding strategy and a specific species of symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) these inshore corals house.

It’s difficult for me to express in a blurb how rad and hopeful and inspiring this is. I’ve lately been wondering if I should drop everything to visit the planet’s coral reefs before they all die out – an entirely plausible outcome in my lifetime. Hopefully this is an indication that we can avoid that dark future. Thanks, Gaelin, for being a Certified R.A.D.-ass.

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