In March 2016, I was hosted by Anantara Resorts to set up long-term monitoring sites at reefs of two different atolls, Kihavah and Baa. As part of this project, Dr. Andrew Bruckner (Coral Reef CPR) and I collected colonies both before and after a mass bleaching event. Interestingly, some corals resisted bleaching, even when conspecifics nearby did not. In collaboration with Dr. Luisa Marcelino at Northwestern University, we will attempt to analyze both the coral tissues (my work) and skeletons (Dr. Marcelino's work) to attempt to uncover why and how certain colonies resisted bleaching. In the end, though, the results may be moot; successive bleaching episodes have virtually wiped out these study reefs. Does it make any sense to delve into the biology of the corals that were relatively more resilient (yet ultimately still succumbed to global climate change)? I am on the fence here (and welcome any input!).
Scroll down for higher quality versions of the thumbnails shown above.