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Have you heard of coral bleaching? That is what happens when corals lose their green or brown colored algae living inside of them due to environmental stress such as warmer temperatures. If conditions return to normal fairly quickly, the algae will come back; but if conditions change for too long then the coral will be permanently bleached and won’t be able to survive.
Nudibranchs are a type of sea slug whose name means “naked gill” and they have some crazy ways of living. They come in many shapes and colors and can be found both in reefs and sandy ocean floors. One kind of nudibranch can eat a toxic sponge and store the poison in its own body, giving it a new defense mechanism. Another type farms algae within its body and uses the algae to make food for itself from the sun.
The Hawaiʻian Islands chain found in the Pacific Ocean is the most isolated Archipelago, located approximately 2,550 miles southwest of Los Angeles and about 3,900 miles southeast of Tokyo.
You may have known that corals are living animals but did you know that they have a partnership with algae living inside of them? Algae known as zooxanthellae (zo-zan- thel-ay) live in the coral’s tissue. The coral gives the algae protection and nutrients while the algae provide food and oxygen to the coral in return. When two living organisms help each other out like this we call it a symbiotic relationship.
Ocean acidification happens when increased carbon dioxide in the air dissolves into the ocean. The excess carbon dioxide lowers the pH of our oceans, making them more acidic. This becomes a threat for sensitive animals like corals and shellfish because it reduces their ability to build calcium carbonate skeletons.
Photo: van Hooidonk et al. 2016 The Paris Agreement, signed by 196 nations in 2016, signaled a turning point in the road to a low-carbon economy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Countries involved in this agreement aim to limit global temperature increases to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. This effort has important implications for the future of important but vulnerable ecosystems, including tropical coral reefs. In light of this international effort, scientists recently published a study using global climate models to generate projections of the future of coral reefs under the... (more)