CORAL BLEACH­ING

Cosmos - - Cosmos Science Club - CRED­ITS: COS­MOS MAG­A­ZINE / ED­I­TOR: AN­DREW MASTER­SON / ART DI­REC­TOR: ROBYN ADDERLY / EX­PERT CON­SUL­TANT: GABRIELLE AH­ERN IL­LUS­TRA­TIONS: HARRY SLAGHEKKE / JACKY WIN­TER GROUP COS­MOS MAG­A­ZINE © 2017 COS­MOS­MAGAZINE.COM. AU

Co­rals share a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship with tiny marine al­gae, which pro­duce car­bo­hy­drates for the coral and them­selves to eat, through the process of pho­to­syn­the­sis. When the coral is stressed from warmer than usual sea tem­per­a­tures, the al­gae are re­jected and the coral turns white. If tem­per­a­tures re­main too high for a pro­longed pe­riod of time, the coral can’t feed it­self ef­fi­ciently and even­tu­ally dies, al­low­ing al­gae to grow over the skele­ton.

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