Coral reefs, you may have heard, are in trouble. Big trouble. Maybe you’ve seen the pictures: ghost-white corals, bleached by high ocean temperatures, entire reefs reduced to rubble. And warm water isn’t the only threat to our favorite underwater organisms — there’s also overfishing, ocean acidification, pollution, and overzealous snorkelers to put up with. What’s a coral to do?

That’s exactly the question that Steve Palumbi, a marine biologist at Stanford University, is trying to answer. He studies corals in tropical American Samoa, where reefs thrive in extremely warm waters — in fact, in just the kinds of waters all reefs may be dealing with by 2100. We talked to Palumbi about how these Samoan “super corals” may hold a key to the survival of future reefs, and how important it is to save them from the threats they face now. Watch our video above to find out how.