Flippers first, I splash into the year 2100. Graduate student Hannah Barkley and I are swimming in Nikko Bay, among the Rock Islands of Palau. Here the warm blue-green water resembles naturally what the tropical Pacific will be like by the end of the century, as carbon emissions take an ever-greater toll on the seas. It should be a window into a dire, climate-change future. But things here look fine. In Palau’s Nikko Bay and a few other acidified Rock Island sites, life appears to be shrugging off a sneak preview of the coral-reef apocalypse. Now Barkley, her boss Cohen, and the rest of the team are trying to answer a few pressing questions. Are the corals really okay? And if so, how? Moreover, what does that mean?
The Reef at the End of the World
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