Coral reefs are among the most species-rich ecosystems on the planet. Octocorals, which include soft corals, gorgonians, and sea pens, are important members of these marine communities. They could even outcompete reef-building stony corals in the future, as they are better able to deal with heat stress and increasing ocean acidification, which makes them less sensitive to the consequences of global climate change. Led by Dr. Sergio Vargas, scientists from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at LMU have now been able to identify the molecular mechanisms behind this resilience. According to the researchers, their results could help predict the future of coral reefs with greater accuracy in the light of global climate change.