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Displaying items by tag: bleaching
Wednesday, 17 August 2016 08:19

Eerie Video Shows How Coral Bleaches

Time-lapse video captures the coral's convulsions while it expels the algae that give it color.

Coral itself is not colorful. It gets it's hues from a special types of algae, called zooxanthellae, that lives in its tissues, feeding on the coral’s metabolic waste. In return, the algae produces sugars and amino acids that the coral polyp eats as food.

When coral gets stressed from events like a rise in water temperatures, it ejects its colorful algal companions, turning white in a process called bleaching. But how this happens is not well understood. So to figure it out, a team of researchers from Queensland University of Technology caught this process in action using time-lapse video.

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The Benthic Underwater Microscope opens up a whole new age of ocean exploration.

Since the discovery of the microscope over 350 years ago, scientists have gotten really good at looking at tiny things, right down to their atoms. But even the most advanced microscopes have one big flaw: they don’t work underwater. Ocean researchers typically have to collect samples from the briny blue and bring them back to their laboratories to take a good look, which means removing microscopic sea creatures from their habitat, often altering their behavior.

But a team of oceanographers recently cracked the problem, developing a Benthic Underwater Microscope that allows a scuba diver to look at and record the tiniest bits of sea life.

Published in News

New images have been released showing coral bleaching in the Maldives, as the global mass bleaching event strikes the Indian ocean.

This current bleaching event has already affected corals in multiple countries in the Pacific region, including Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

A survey released this week revealed that coral bleaching killed 35 per cent of coral in the central and northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef, while previous research found that 95 per cent of those reefs have been severely affected.

Published in News

Some of Thailand’s most prized dive sites have been closed indefinitely after the Department of National Parks’ survey found coral bleaching on 80 percent of some of the reefs. This is a bold move for a country where tourism accounts for 10 percent of its economy—and where officials were hoping to attract 32 million tourists this year, The Guardian reported. But then again, it sends the message Thailand officials want: Ignorant tourism is killing the reefs.

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UPDATE: Great Barrier Reef

One of Australia’s most important natural assets, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), is being affected by the worst ever bleaching in its history, amid warmer than average water temperatures associated with this summer’s major El Niño event and against a background trend of ongoing ocean warming.

With extensive coral bleaching having been predicted as far back as October last year, Terry Hughes at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies convened the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce to document the bleaching, both from the air and at close quarters. With our survey work still ongoing, a bleak picture is emerging: more than 1,000 km of the Great Barrier Reef shows signs of significant bleaching.

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