Smithsonian Voices

From the Smithsonian Museums

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientist Mike Henley dives at a coral nursery where brown rice coral and blue rice coral grow.

Testing the Waters: Coral Nurseries and Climate Change

What makes (or breaks) a coral’s ability to survive rising sea temperatures? It’s a puzzling predicament, and scientists are hoping coral nurseries can help crack the code. To test the waters, they grow brown rice coral and blue rice coral in various temperatures and conditions, then reintroduce fragments into the ocean. Suspended from a “tree” above the sea floor, these corals are teaching Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientist Mike Henley whether corals grown in warmer waters fare better than their cold-water counterparts.