Video shows extent of coral bleaching in Great Barrier Reef
Saturday, March 5, 2016, 4:53 PM - The World Wildlife Fund for Nature Australia recently released footage showing the extent of coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef at Lizard Island in Queensland, Australia.
According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), coral bleaching occurs when corals are stressed by changes in conditions such as temperature, light, or nutrients.
The stress causes coral to "expel the symbiotic algae living within their tissues, causing them to turn completely white."
Depending on the severity of the stress-induced bleaching, coral have a chance to recover from bleaching. But the longer algae loss and stress continues, coral eventually dies.
"It's the hottest time of the year [in Lizard Island], and the water temperature reached 32 degrees last weekend." Australia's World Wildlife Fund said in a Facebook post. "Fortunately, this is not yet a major bleaching event, but the situation is on a knife edge."
The U.S. lost half of its Caribbean coral reefs in 2005 after a massive bleaching event.
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