Articles on Coral reefs

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Most species of tiny coral reef fish are overlooked because of their small size. Now, their importance for coral reef ecosystems has put these fish and their unique way of life in the limelight. Sinclair-Taylor Tane

Snack-sized ‘candy’ fish explain a coral mystery

New research reveals that miniature, brightly coloured fish play an outsized role in the marine food chain in coral reefs.
Corals at Scott Reef in 2012, and at the same site during the 2016 mass bleaching. James Gilmour/AIMS

‘Bright white skeletons’: some Western Australian reefs have the lowest coral cover on record

The Western Australian coral reefs may not be as well known as the Great Barrier Reef, but they're just as large and diverse. And they too have been devastated by cyclones and coral bleaching.
Underwater view of waves breaking over a healthy coral reef, reducing wave energy at the shoreline that can cause flooding. Curt Storlazzi, USGS

Coral reefs provide flood protection worth $1.8 billion every year – it’s time to protect them

A new report shows that coral reefs reduce damage from floods across the United States and its trust territories by more than $1.8 billion every year – and pinpoints that value state by state.
Children play on a beach in Palau, in the western Pacific Ocean. The country was the first to place a sweeping ban on sunscreen to protect its reefs. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Beaches are banning sunscreens to save coral reefs

As the mid-winter break draws crowds to beaches, tourists may be wondering if their sunscreen is toxic to coral reefs.
A coral reef in Chagos, British Indian Ocean Territory, experiencing catastrophic bleaching in 2015. Anderson B. Mayfield

Are reef corals stressed or just pessimistic?

A coral biologist sampled corals from the most remote reaches of the Indo-Pacific and discovered that all of them show signs of stress.
Many Caribbean reefs are now dominated by sponges. from www.shutterstock.com

The rise of sponges in Anthropocene reef ecosystems

Marine sponges are ancient organisms that have survived mass extinctions. Many are more tolerant of climate change and may dominate over corals in future reef systems.
A three-banded clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) navigates the anemones of the Andaman Coral Reef, India. Ritiks/Wikipedia

Why does Nemo the clownfish have three white stripes? The riddle solved at last

Our children all know the little clownfish Nemo, star of the Pixar film. But why does he have three stripes, rather than one or two? Developmental and evolutionary biology are revealing the answer.
Successive governments have seen the Great Barrier Reef not just as a scientific wonder, but as a channel to further economic development. Superjoseph/Shutterstock.com

Politicised science on the Great Barrier Reef? It’s been that way for more than a century

The $444 million awarded to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has been criticised as a politically calculated move. But governments have been asking what the reef can do for them ever since colonial times.

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