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Where the Living Reefs Are: A Quest to Find the World’s Most Resilient Corals

Anne Cohen

Anne Cohen swimming in scuba gear

Coral reefs are battling on the front lines of climate change. Many have bleached and died, and as ocean temperatures climb ever higher, the long-term prognosis for coral reefs looks grim. And yet, among the destruction, scientists are discovering glimmers of hope—pockets of highly resilient corals that are thriving despite exposure to extreme heat.

Within parts of the central Pacific, parts of Thailand, the South China Sea, and the Palau Rock Islands, scientists have identified “Super Reefs” persisting against all odds and they predict there are more like these scattered across the tropical oceans. Super Reefs have the best chance of surviving climate change and producing resilient larvae that can repopulate neighboring reefs. However, many are in danger from pollution, dredging, and dynamiting, fueling an urgent mission to find and protect them.

In her lecture, Anne Cohen will showcase the science and the scientists, the triumphs and the trials, behind the mission to uncover the world’s most resilient reefs. Cohen is an associate scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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