An 2009 National Geographic expedition in the South Pacific Ocean, led by marine scientist Enric Sala, wanted to look for answers on sustaining coral ecosystems. Sala witnessed what was a seeming underwater "impressionist" painting. The team shared their findings with the local Kiribati government who proceeded to safeguard the waters from human activity. But ocean warming decimated half of the reefs between 2015 and 2016. However, hope was not lost. A few surviving corals coupled with government restrictions to overfishing enabled those coral reefs to come back. "It has an abundance of fish that is off the charts. So they were eating all the algae that would smother the dead coral skeletons, and make it impossible for the corals to come back," discovered Sala.

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