Can Super Reefs Save Corals?

May 26, 2019

Credit Jakob Owens / unsplash

Coral reefs around the world face a host of threats from human activities – from destructive fishing practices, to pollution, and of course, climate change. Reefs in the Caribbean have been in decline. Close to half of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef died during a two-year heat wave starting in 2016. And scientists have said that the vast majority of reefs could be gone by 2050.

In short, there hasn’t been a lot of good news about corals lately. But – and this is a big BUT – not ALL coral reefs are dying. In fact, some are thriving in temperatures and conditions that should.

So far, scientists have identified only a handful of these so-called Super Reefs. But a new initiative aims to find, study, and protect as many super reefs as possible. Because they could be key to the survival of corals globally.

Anne Cohen is an Associate Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and co-founder of the Super Reefs initiative.