Colorless coral: How climate change is affecting the great barrier reef

Jack Caulfield
February 16th 2016

Our peculiar image of the week comes from the Great Barrier Reef.

You've probably seen images of this vibrant underwater attraction before. If you're lucky, maybe you've seen it in person. But it's not meant to look like this. This striking image was released to spread awareness of the devastating "coral bleaching" effect taking place as our oceans heat up.

Coral's striking color palette is provided by its symbiotic relationship with algae. When the coral is exposed to excessively high temperatures, though, it can respond by expelling the algae.

This is called coral bleaching, and it results in the ghostly landscape you see above.

Coral, which aside from its beauty also provides food security and shoreline protection for the islands it surrounds, cannot survive for long after bleaching. This image gives us one more reason to fight climate change: Keep our coral colorful!

Via The Ocean Agency.

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