I'm a bit late on this, but World Oceans Day occurred last month, setting off celebrations and reflections around the world. This [Nature editorial] focuses in large part on one of the most charismatic of marine habitats - coral reefs. While news of pervasive coral bleaching has been coming fast and furious recently, a new paper by Joshua Cinner et al. compiled data from more than 2,500 reefs around the world to evaluate conditions that lead to dramatically improved reef prospects...and worse than average outcomes. Among the findings:
We surveyed local experts about social, institutional, and environmental conditions at these sites to reveal that bright spots are characterized by strong sociocultural institutions such as customary taboos and marine tenure, high levels of local engagement in management, high dependence on marine resources, and beneficial environmental conditions such as deep-water refuges. Alternatively, dark spots are characterized by intensive capture and storage technology and a recent history of environmental shocks.
The full paper, optimistically titled "Bright Spots Among the World's Coral Reefs," can be found [here].