A coral reef site in Kiritimati in May 2015 and May 2018 Danielle Claar, Kevin Bruce Climate change is making marine heatwaves longer and more frequent, which has resulted in several mass coral bleaching events in recent years. Now it seems that certain corals are able to recover from bleaching even while marine heatwaves are ongoing. During a tropical marine heatwave between 2015 and 2016 , Julia Baum at the University of Victoria in Canada and her colleagues analysed corals around Kiritimati in the central Pacific Ocean , the largest coral atoll in the world. The marine heatwave was the longest ever recorded. “Scientists had predicted that no coral reef would experience that much heat stress until mid-century,” says Baum. Baum’s team tagged more than 100 corals of two species – Platygyra ryukyuensis and Favites pentagona – at different sites around the island. Some were in places close to inhabited villages, meaning they had already been disturbed, and others were in areas that were pristine before the heatwave began. The group photographed and tracked individual corals over the course of the heatwave. The team was surprised to discover that some corals survived bleaching, recovering even though the water temperature […]


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