"Hope for coral"
The point being that the same things can come round again and again, but they´re not always terribly new.
So it looks with ´Hope for coral´ as oceans warm (BBC online). I stand to be corrected, but it looks as if the new paper by Ray Berkelmans and Madeleine van Oppen (which I have not read yet) may add some new and perhaps important matters of detail, but is unlikely to change the essential finding that corals and their symbionts can adapt a little bit to stresses such as higher temperatures -- but probably not enough to cope with predicted changes.
The "discovery" that corals can exchange their algae for varieties which survive at higher temperatures is already well known. On the plus side, the BBC article may generate interest and attention among some people who previously knew very little.
[7 June P.S. After writing this blog post, I wrote to Richard Black, the author of the BBC article, and occasioned communication with Andrew Baker and others. Andrew Baker kindly forwarded a copy of Corals´Adaptive Response to Climate Change (Nature, Vol 430, August 2004), and added there was also a piece in the New York Times on 21 Dec 2004 (see here or comment attached to this post). Richard Black wrote that he had changed his article a bit to reflect these findings. Tom Goreau added: each "clade" is in fact made up of very many separate species of zooxanthellae, each with different temperature and light tolerances. Most corals are very fussy about just which species, not clade, they associate with. The expert on zooxanthellae genetics is Todd La Jeunesse at Florida Intentational University.]