Coral Fights Back Against Warming Seas
In the world of coral reefs, most of the news is pretty gloomy. Rising ocean temperatures have led to massive die-offs from Indonesia to Florida; emissions-driven acidity could dissolve corals’ structure-building ability in 20 years; rising sea levels threaten to block sunlight even from healthy reefs; and in November NOAA called on Congress to afford endangered species status to over 60 species.
Coral are not exactly the most dynamic animals in the ocean: They take decades to grow and are then rooted at the mercy of their environment, so they don’t inspire much confidence when it comes to adapting to climate change. But a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science from a group of Stanford geneticists suggests that coral might have more of a fighting spirit than we gave them credit for.