Worried about climate change? Look at the bright spots! Literally!
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
As climate changes, so do our coral reefs. For the worse! Let’s reef-lect on what we can do.
Meet Joshua Cinner of Australia’s James Cook University and his international research team. They study bright spots. Bright spots are reefs thriving in conditions we wouldn't expect them to. Like wildflowers pushing up through sidewalk cracks! These reefs face imperfect ocean conditions or frequent human use. Yet, they teem with life! How do they stay healthy when their counterparts in similar conditions do not?
Cinner’s team traveled the world, exploring thousands of reefs in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. When they found bright spots, they talked to locals and scientists familiar with the areas.
What did they learn?
Bright spots seem connected to communities whose livelihoods depend on the ocean. These communities have strict fishing rules and avoid harmful practices like destructive netting. It looks like human activity is sometimes a positive for ocean conservation!
Seeing spots is good! It let’s minnow the tides of change aren’t all bad.