In its simplest form, I’m a marine biologist, and I have long been fascinated by this microbial soup (that more highly decorated scientists might refer to as our world’s oceans), and in the study of those organisms that dwell in it. For the last decade or two, (with the exception of a fully-clothed four-year stint at the University of Bergen, studying the biodiversity of the deep seas beneath the polar ice caps of the Frozen North), I have been fascinated by tropical corals, some of our planet’s oldest denizens, creators of epic and outrageously-coloured reef systems, and home to untold numbers of diverse creatures that live in, on and around them. Of late though, my research has taken a more existential turn, investigating the impacts that humankind’s continuing growth and expansion are having on these extraordinary habitats, and how these ancient creatures are trying to adapt and evolve to cope. Much of these studies is based out in one the world’s most remote coral reef systems, the almost entirely uninhabited Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean, a location unique in there being no direct human impacts on the vast majority of its reefs, the only stressor being global climate change. This island chain too is home to the world’s rarest coral, Ctenella chagius, thought to have been decimated by recently warming waters and now the subject of my ongoing quest to conserve it.