Anna Gibbs

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The coral reef, once bustling with more than 5,000 long-spined sea urchins, became a ghost town in a matter of days. White skeletons with dangling spines dotted the reef near the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba, the water cloudy from the disintegrating corpses. In just a week last April, half of the urchins, Diadema antillarum, in a section of reef called “Diadema City” had died. In June, only 100 remained.

In Ipswich, when temperatures are well below freezing and the tidal flats are covered in ice, Paul Damon still digs for clams. Even when it dips to 11 or 12 degrees, he’ll take his boat to reach the flats — exposed expanses of mud that appear at low tide. Only when he tosses out the anchor and it bounces off the solid mud does he head home.

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Five Part Column in The Harvard Crimson