Published October 23, 2008 09:38 AM

Corals gain climate-change shield

Rare species of staghorn corals may bear some good news for reef conservation: It appears that some rare types of staghorns can readily breed with related species, creating hybrids that may be far more resilient to climate change or other stresses than anyone thought.

That’s the word from a team of coral researchers at James Cook University and the Australian Research Council’s Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Townsville, Queensland.


Reefs worldwide are under pressure from human fishing practices, pollution, climate change, and ocean acidification. Rare species, which often live in smaller colonies than other, more-common corals are thought to be among the most vulnerable.

The team studied the genetic makeup of 14 rare and eight common species of staghorns, the leading reef-builders in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

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