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Best of 2016: Thriving coral reef could bring hope in fight against changing climate

Editor’s note: As the end of 2016 approaches, Human Nature is revisiting some of our favorite stories of the year. To support crucial conservation work like this, consider making a donation to Conservation International.  

Devastating incidents of coral bleaching are making news across the globe: In 2016 alone, bleaching has afflicted 93 percent of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and caused 10 dive sites in Thailand to close. Indonesia is no exception; bleaching is severe across the country, threatening the coral-dominated reef systems that support fisheries and marine tourism, which in turn provide food and livelihoods for coastal communities.

But in one small, jewel-like archipelago in the province of West Papua, there is an outlier. The Raja Ampat archipelago — the world’s epicenter of marine biodiversity — has somehow managed to largely escape coral bleaching.

Find out why — and how this knowledge could help bolster other reefs against similar threats — in this original post.

Sophie Bertazzo is a staff writer for Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates.

Cover image: Coral reef in Indonesia’s Raja Ampat archipelago. (© Keith A. Ellenbogen)