Search By Topic


Protecting seabirds could help protect coral reefs from climate change

Birds who spend most or all of their lives at sea are among the most imperiled animals around. Their populations have declined by roughly two-thirds since the mid-20th century, making seabird conservation an urgent moral imperative—and perhaps also a practical strategy for people seeking to protect coral reefs from climate change.

A new comparison of reef resilience near islands with and without thriving seabird colonies found that the former may better rebound from bleaching events, when too-warm water temperatures cause corals to expel the algae living inside them. Because corals rely on those algae to survive, many eventually die, and the growing frequency and scale of bleaching events threatens the very future of Earth’s reefs.