It's no surprise that Popular Science has long been obsessed with coral--it houses up to one-third of all sea life and researchers use its fluorescent green and orange proteins in biomedical research. During the past 100 years, PopSci reporters have covered coral reefs from Australia to the American Museum of Natural History. We’ve written about how coral can help divers find oil fields and how to collect it--you know, for kicks--using submarines. Back in the day, coral was more of a given, a novelty.
Coral bleaching, first reported in PopSci in 1995, changed attitudes to one of worry. As climate change warms the oceans, the single-celled dinoflagellates that live in the coral leave it behind, taking with them the sugars they photosynthesize and cutting off the corals’ food supply. But there’s hope – as we reported last year, a bacteria found in the Red Sea appears to prevent coral bleaching in some coral.