Remote corals pay the price of climate change

01 July, 2018

The coral reefs of a Samoan island in the remote southwest Pacific are in a surprisingly poor condition, highlighting the far-reaching impacts of climate change.

KAUST marine scientists joined colleagues on the research schooner Tara to examine the impacts of climate change on coral reefs surrounding Upolu, an island just 74 kilometers long and 24 kilometers wide, home to about 135,000 Samoans.

Small island populations largely rely on healthy coral reef systems for their livelihoods, but the status of these reefs in remote parts of the world is poorly documented. “Investigating coral reefs in remote locations can teach us about global and local impacts on these ecosystems,” says molecular biologist Maren Ziegler. 

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Image: The Tara Expedition spent five days in late 2016 investigating the state of the coral reefs surrounding the southwest Pacific Samoan island of Upolu.
© Pierre de Parscau, Tara Pacific Expedition 2016-2018