Despite the tough odds that coral reefs face--pollution, overfishing, and climate change among them--they may not be faring as badly as many biologists had feared.
Some estimates predict that 70 percent of the world's coral reefs will be gone by 2050, and bleaching events--which occur when reefs lose the algae they needs for survival--have already killed off large percentages of coral populations around the world.
But recent studies have shown that coral is recovering both in the Great Barrier Reef and off the coast of Tanzania, an improvement the researchers attribute to better management of fisheries, the use of less harmful equipment, and commercial fishing restrictions. Scientists were also surprised to find that the reef in Tanzania was able to adapt to warmer water temperatures. Sometimes, nature is more resilient than we think; but do we have to continue testing it?