Dr. Rebecca Albright in the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences–one of only a handful of places worldwide to be spawning corals in captivity (Photo: Kat Whitney)
While they cover less than one percent of the ocean floor, coral reefs support approximately one-quarter of marine biodiversity and the livelihoods of tens of millions of people worldwide. As the world continues to warm and the oceans acidify, coral reef bleaching and erosion are advancing at staggering rates, threatening coastal protection, habitats, cultural services, and tourism. There is no question that today's reefs are facing unprecedented struggle.
Coral reef biologist Rebecca Albright, assistant curator of Invertebrate Zoology and Patterson Scholar at the California Academy of Science, sees opportunities for exciting new ways to address this crisis. Albright shares an overview of challenges that reefs are currently facing and solutions that scientists are exploring. Looking toward the future, she highlights the strengths and limitations of current approaches, discusses next steps toward saving these invaluable ecosystems, and stresses the important roles of scientists, citizens, and policymakers in the efforts to sustain coral reefs. Says Albright, “Coral reefs are unbelievably resilient ecosystems—if we give them a chance.”
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