Coral reefs provide crucial habitat and storm protection and economic benefits as destinations for diving, fishing, and boating. Often referred to as the “rainforests of the sea,” they’re essential in terms of species diversity and for the ecosystem services that they provide to humans. The Barrier Coral reef spanning the Florida Keys is the only barrier reef in the continental United States and is vital to the ecosystems and communities of Southern Florida. But in recent decades, mostly due to climate change, the reef has been decimated. This year, a marine heat wave caused extremely high ocean temperatures and a coral bleaching event in and around Florida. When temperatures are high for too long, bleached corals can starve to death.