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There are bright spots among the world’s coral reefs – the challenge is to learn from them

Joshua Cinner writes in The Conversation (21.7.16) about the identification of coral reefs which show less of the damaging effects of changing climate and ocean conditions, and suggests what might be learned from these isolated ‘bright spots’ among a generally gloomy outlook for our own Great Barrier Reef.

‘Despite substantial conservation efforts, human impacts are harming coral reefs all over the world. That in turn affects the millions of people who depend on reefs for their livelihoods. It’s a gloomy picture, but there are some bright spots.

‘In a study that appears on the cover of this week’s Nature, I and 38 international colleagues identify 15 places around the world where the outlook is not so bleak. Many of them are in surprising places like Pacific island states, which may not have lots of money for conservation but do have a close social connection to the health of their oceans.

‘Unlike scientific studies that look at averages or trends, we took a slightly different approach and focused on the outliers – the places bucking the trend. This type of “bright spot” approach has been used in a range of fields, including business, health and human development, to search for hope against backgrounds of widespread failure.’

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