Andrea Quattrini
August 31, 2020
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lead researchers
Andrea Quattrini

The lead researchers on the study. (From left to right) Catherine McFadden, a biologist at Harvey Mudd College, Estefanía Rodríguez, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History, and Andrea Quattrini, research zoologist and curator of corals at the National Museum of Natural History.

(Photo courtesy Andrea Quattrini)

A new study, published Aug. 31 in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, finds that reef-building corals emerged only when ocean conditions supported the construction of these creatures’ stony skeletons, whereas diverse softer corals and sea anemones flourished at other times. Without a significant change to anthropogenic carbon emissions, the new findings present stark implications for the present and future of hard-bodied corals while suggesting a silver lining for the diversity of some of their softer-bodied relatives.

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