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The End of Coral Reefs? Not Yet.


Dr. Mark Spalding

The Nature Conservancy's Senior Marine Scientist

November 2015

Coral reefs are naturally dynamic. They have always been hit by storms, plagued by starfish and hammered by disease. They have been knocked down countless times, and yet they bounce back with a surprising degree of resiliency.

What’s different now is that humans are adding enormously to the burden of stress. An estimated 75 percent of the world’s warm-water reefs are threatened by human activities, and degradation is almost ubiquitous.

We now know that some corals and reefs are showing some adaptive capacity to both warming and to acidification. Even better, some appear to be adapting faster than we expected to high temperature exposure, and some appear to have some smart physiological mechanisms that enable them to extract minerals for their skeletons even from very low concentrations in the water.

Some reefs may be more resilient than we expected. And it seems this resilience may be something we can support.

Read the article by Senior Marine Scientist, Dr. Mark Spalding, in the journal Science for more on why it's not too late to save coral reefs.

Originally Posted on The Journal Science

November 12, 2015