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Red Sea corals' heat tolerance offers hope for climate crisis

Reefs from Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea survived rise of seven degrees, say marine scientists. The scientists cranked the heat above the lethal threshold, and waited for the corals to die.

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“We were heating the water one degree above the summer maximum temperature,” says Anders Meibom, a researcher with the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Lausanne. “On the Great Barrier Reef, after a couple of weeks of that they’d start dying.”

But the corals taken from the Gulf of Aqaba, a trench of water that protrudes from the Red Sea, lapping Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, appeared untroubled by the temperature.

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Words by Michael Safi