Popular Science

Coral reefs show signs of climate stress, but there's still hope

They show signs of stress, but also resilience.
A diver explores healthy coral reefs in Guam.

A diver explores healthy coral reefs in Guam.

Kiho Kim

Coral reefs are home to a vast array of ocean creatures. They provide food, protection against storm damage, sustain tourism and inspire wonder. “If we lose corals, we lose a vital piece of our planet,” said Kiho Kim.

Kim, a professor in the department of environmental sciences at American University, has been studying the fate of corals in our warming and increasingly polluted world — and he’s worried about what he’s found.

Recently, he and his colleagues examined the effects of nitrogen from sewage plants and septic tanks on coral skeletons in Guam, a U.S. territory that has undergone dramatic ecological

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