Children play on a beach in Palau, in the western Pacific Ocean. The country was the first to place a sweeping ban on sunscreen to protect its reefs.
(AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
As the mid-winter break draws crowds to beaches, tourists may be wondering if their sunscreen is toxic to coral reefs.
Solenosmilia coral reef with unidentified solitary yellow corals.
In the cold southern oceans, underwater mountains support deep-sea reefs.
A coral reef in Chagos, British Indian Ocean Territory, experiencing catastrophic bleaching in 2015.
Anderson B. Mayfield
A coral biologist sampled corals from the most remote reaches of the Indo-Pacific and discovered that all of them show signs of stress.
Neil Walton Photography / shutterstock
The Maldives may end up with perfect conditions for reef island building, but no new coral to build islands with.
Sangalaki Island, Indonesia.
The Coral Reef Image Bank image provide by Simon Pierce.
Coral reefs are in trouble, but other marine species are also feeling the strain but are off the conservation radar.
Many Caribbean reefs are now dominated by sponges.
Marine sponges are ancient organisms that have survived mass extinctions. Many are more tolerant of climate change and may dominate over corals in future reef systems.
A healthy coral reef on Millennium Atoll, Southern Line Islands.
Field samples, satellite measurements and isotopic data have shed new light on corals' eating habits.
Researching the most resilient corals could help us find ways to better protect reefs in the future.
Building an artificial reef.
Coral reefs are in crisis around the world, and may disappear entirely. 3D printing is a new idea to help them – but it won't be a cure all.
A three-banded clownfish (
Amphiprion ocellaris) navigates the anemones of the Andaman Coral Reef, India.
Our children all know the little clownfish Nemo, star of the Pixar film. But why does he have three stripes, rather than one or two? Developmental and evolutionary biology are revealing the answer.
Successive governments have seen the Great Barrier Reef not just as a scientific wonder, but as a channel to further economic development.
The $444 million awarded to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has been criticised as a politically calculated move. But governments have been asking what the reef can do for them ever since colonial times.
acro_phuket / shutterstock
Scientists have used 'tree rings' in coral to identify centuries of stress.
Silent Evolution by Jason deCaires Taylor. Taylor makes sculptures and sinks them beneath the sea to create artificial reefs.
© Jason deCaires Taylor
Not everything humans put in the ocean is garbage. From walls of tyres to sunken sculptures, reef restoration is both a science and an art.
New findings from the Chagos Islands are a perfect parable for the Anthropocene.
A life reconstruction of
Brindabellaspis stensioi, an unusual placoderm fish from the 400-million-year old Burrinjuck reef in New South Wales, Australia.
Jason Art, Shenzhen
Brindabellaspis had eyes on the top of the head, facing upwards, and a skull stretched into a long and broad snout. Although around 400 million years old, it was clearly a specialised fish.
Ingredients in many sunscreens are bleaching coral and harming marine life.
Scientists have discovered a natural sunscreen – made by microbes – that may be better for humans and the marine critters they are hoping to see.
The first March for Science, April 22, 2017, Washington DC.
On the eve of the March for Science, a marine biologist explains why she's returning from abroad to speak out for science in the Trump era.
Boat noise can interfere with the underwater communication of fishes and other marine animals.
The noise from motor boats, sonar and other industrial activity interferes with the underwater chatter of fishes.
Juvenile blue tang sheltering in restored staghorn coral.
With coral reefs in crisis around the world, many organizations are working to restore them by growing and transplanting healthy corals. A new study spotlights techniques that help restored reefs thrive.
The increasingly bleached coral at Black Point on the Cobourg Peninsula is a worrying sign of what’s to come for other coral reefs in Australia.
Coral bleaching has struck the Northern Territory, adding urgency to the need for better national management strategies for our warming oceans.