(CNN)An international group of scientists has surveyed more than 2,500 coral reef systems across 44 countries to determine how to save them in the face of damage caused by climate change and humans, according to a new study.
Scientists studied 2,500 coral reefs to figure out how to save them
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A hundred scientists were involved in the survey that looked at coral abundance in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Many of the reef systems were found to be full of complex species that created distinctive structures and were functioning in spite of deadly marine heat waves in recent years.
The study was published Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
"The good news is that functioning coral reefs still exist, and our study shows that it is not too late to save them," said Emily Darling, the lead author of the study and a Wildlife Conservation Society scientist leading the global coral reef monitoring program. "Safeguarding coral reefs into the future means protecting the world's last functioning reefs and recovering reefs impacted by climate change. But realistically -- on severely degraded reefs -- coastal societies will need to find new livelihoods for the future."