Petition seeks protection for cauliflower coral

Cauliflower coral — formerly the state’s most abundant shallow water species, an environment which made it more susceptible to the thermal stress that caused the bleaching — was nearly wiped out by the 2015 bleaching event. Structure remaining from the coral is pictured at Kua Bay. (Photos by Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

A pair of ornamental butterflyfish swim near cauliflower coral at Kua Bay.

A partially bleached cauliflower coral is pictured at Kua Bay. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Following a three-year stretch of the worst bleaching events in recorded history that decimated roughly half of Hawaii’s corals, one species nearly extinct across the islands may be about to receive an improved chance at new life.