Climate change

Coral reefs: Caribbean coral reefs most likely to survive climate change

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Caribbean coral reefs most likely to survive climate change.

Scientists have discovered that corals on the north shore of Cuba has the best chance of avoiding the destruction caused by marine heat waves.

There are other areas where corals could also survive, around the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, eastern Jamaica and the US state of Florida.

The world’s largest-ever report on climate change, by top United Nations scientists, found that warming of up to 1.5C would mean only 10-30% coral reefs would survive. Hotter than that, the survival rate drops.

Today, experts seek to protect these areas – and the ecosystems around them – and to study why they are more resilient.

What did the study do?

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The research team looked at different climate patterns and factors such as hurricane damage and heat stress.

They then created a list of corals that need protection because they are more resistant to climate change.

Lead researcher Iliana Chollett said finding the most promising areas to support keystone species will be key to helping these valuable habitats persist as the planet continues to warm.

coral-polyop.Getty Images

It may look like a plant, but coral is actually an animal!

Taking care of these healthy corals will help the ecosystems that depend on them.

However, scientific research shows that if global temperatures reach 2°C, coral reefs will not survive.