Articles on Coral reefs

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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.
Silent Evolution by Jason deCaires Taylor. Taylor makes sculptures and sinks them beneath the sea to create artificial reefs. © Jason deCaires Taylor

The science and art of reef restoration

Not everything humans put in the ocean is garbage. From walls of tyres to sunken sculptures, reef restoration is both a science and an art.
A life reconstruction of Brindabellaspis stensioi, an unusual placoderm fish from the 400-million-year old Burrinjuck reef in New South Wales, Australia. Jason Art, Shenzhen

Fossil fish with platypus-like snout shows that coral reefs have long been evolution hotspots

Brindabellaspis had eyes on the top of the head, facing upwards, and a skull stretched into a long and broad snout. Although around 400 million years old, it was clearly a specialised fish.

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