"Some Corals Are More Heat Resistant Than Thought"

"The vast genetic diversity of corals means there are some that may survive warming waters. Now scientists just need to find them."

"The Rock Islands of Palau, a tiny nation in the Pacific located midway between the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, look like most people’s definition of paradise. Several hundred lush green islands rise above shallow lagoons in a mini archipelago spread across 41 square kilometers (16 square miles) just south of the main island.

For the biologists who flock to the Micronesian nation, the real draw is the Rock Islands’ pristine coral reefs, found both in the shallow waters of protected lagoons and fringing the deeper waters offshore. Palau has long been a hot spot for coral research, and now, in a study recently published in Communications Biology, scientists reported finding that some corals there can tolerate temperatures far warmer than researchers realized. The discovery could provide hope for reefs around the world threatened by warming ocean waters.

The fate of coral reefs has become one of the most notable bellwethers of climate change, as hotter and more acidic oceans imperil these vibrant ecosystems. But along with rising tones of alarm, scientists are also finding reasons to be hopeful. As marine biologists have taken a closer look at thousands of coral species around the world, they’ve noticed that some fare surprisingly well when waters are abnormally warm."

Nathaniel Scharping reports for Eos February 6, 2023.

Source: Eos, 02/07/2023