Can coral cope with climate change?

Climate change is likely to alter the species composition of coral reefs, rather than wipe out entire reef ecosystems.
Terry Hughes at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, and his team sampled 132 sites along the full length of the Great Barrier Reef (pictured), spanning 13° of latitude and a range of sea surface temperatures. Of the 12 coral taxa sampled, 11 showed significant differences in abundance across the reef, regardless of how susceptible they were to thermal stress and bleaching. These differences in abundance did not follow changes in latitude or temperature.
This flexibility may enable coral reefs to continue functioning as the environment alters with climate change.