Tubbataha Reef, in the Philippines, is one of the world’s most biodiverse coral reefs. In 1988, it became a protected area, and it shows: as the rest of the world’s reefs are struggling, Tubbataha remains shockingly pristine. Some 600 species of fish and 360 coral species, about half of all known species, live in the area, and the park’s islets also host the last seabird rookery in the Philippines. The rookery provides refuge to 100 species of birds. John Marcus, a marine biologist at the Rosenstiel School at the University of Miami, says that all this points to the hope that “Tubbataha Reef is nearing what we believe to be the true natural state.”
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