Corals are a recent addition to this body of prophecy. Scientists now know that deep-sea corals off the coast of California live for hundreds of years—and they record a ring for every year of their growth, just like a redwood. What their growth rings tell us about past ocean conditions can also illuminate our planet's future.
Deep-sea corals have some things in common with trees. As their branches grow, corals document the minute details of ocean chemistry in ring patterns like those in tree trunks. And like certain trees, some coral species can live for hundreds or even thousands of years, preserving their recording of past conditions. Dr. Nancy Foster Scholar Carina Fish uncovers the records kept by deep-sea corals in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary for her Ph.D. at University of California, Davis.