Still, one point of concern is that many of these young corals are settling down on the frames of dead corals, which may eventually break down, Turner said. In the longer term, more bleaching events in the coming years could further devastate an already weakened reef. As climate change is expected to cause severe warming events to become more frequent in the future, scientists are beginning to worry that many reefs around the world won’t have adequate time to bounce back between bleaching events. This is one of the issues facing the Great Barrier Reef.

Turner noted, however, that because the Chagos Archipelago is so remote and has enjoyed protection over the years, it has been spared some of the other damaging effects of human influence — such as overfishing or damage from boats and divers — that have plagued other reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef. As a result, he said, there’s hope that the coral there may be hardier than in other places.

“We do make the point that this is resilient and there is a good possibility of recovery,” he said.

May 16 at 3:26 PM

Chris Mooney contributed to this report.