With an estimated 1.7 million new cancer diagnoses every year in the US, and outbreaks of malaria, Ebola and Zika rocking populations around the world, scientists are on a constant search for new compounds that might kill the cancer cells and microbes that threaten human life. Over the past two decades, they've turned increasingly to one important place: coral reefs. Compounds derived from the ocean are approximately seven times more likely to make it into drug form [than compounds from land], William Gerwick, professor of oceanography and pharmaceutical sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, told VICE. The staggering number and range of species in the ocean is one reason for this success, but what makes marine compounds particularly effective for drug development is how they've evolved. "Part of why coral reefs have such potential is because all of that diversity makes for tough competition," David Kline, a coral reef researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told VICE.