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World Reef Day: How coral bleaching occurs

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World Reef Day: How coral bleaching occurs

World Reef Day: How coral bleaching occurs

In the first ever World Reef Day, researchers are reminding the public why it is vital to understand the causes and the effects of coral bleaching.

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World Reef Day: How coral bleaching occurs

Contact [email protected] to license this or any News Direct video For story suggestions please contact [email protected] RESTRICTIONS: NONE In the first ever World Reef Day, researchers are reminding the public why it is vital to understand the causes and the effects of coral bleaching.

A group of researchers led by Terry Hughes of James Cook University reports that rising ocean temperatures caused by global warming are responsible for the destruction of hundreds of miles of reef.

Their findings are reported in the journal Nature.

Corals are marine animals that live in compact colonies of tiny, identical, individual polyps.

Most corals get their food from the microscopic algae that live inside their tissue.

The algae convert energy from the sun into food.

It is the algae that provide coral reefs with their vibrant color.

Coral bleaching mainly occurs when a rise in sea temperatures causes the algae to produce toxins.

In self-defense, the corals then expel the algae, which exposes their limestone skeleton.

Corals can recover if there is a subsequent drop in water temperatures, but without the algae they risk starving to death.

Scientists have warned for decades that burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases that warm the oceans and put coral at risk.

In turn, that jeopardizes the marine ecosystem, including fish that rely on the reefs to protect them from predators.

This could in turn spark a food shortage, because hundreds of millions of people worldwide rely on reef fish as their primary source of protein.

The news comes amid reports that coral reefs are already failing to keep up with the pace of sea level rise.

RUNDOWN SHOWS: 1.

Location of Great Barrier Reef; similar in size to Japan 2.

Areas of coral bleaching 3.

Barrier reef, made up of coral polyps 4.

Coral reproduces, becomes reef 5.

Algae live inside coral tissue 6.

Algae produce food for coral 7.

Water temperature rises, algae produce toxins, coral expels algae.

8.

Coral bleaching 9.

Greenhouse gases cause coral bleaching to occur 10.

Meat industry produces greenhouse gases; solar and electric energy alternatives VOICEOVER (in English): “The Great Barrier Reef is 2,300 kilometers long and covers an area of more than 344,000 square kilometers.

This is similar to the size of Japan.” “However, studies suggest the reef is under threat from repeated bleaching of its corals caused by rising ocean temperatures.” “Corals are marine animals that live in compact colonies of tiny, identical, individual polyps.” “Coral polyps produce a limestone skeleton.

Layering that takes place over hundreds of years by millions of polyps creates a scaffolding better known as a reef.” “Most corals get their food from the microscopic algae that live inside their tissue.” “The algae convert energy from the sun into food, mostly in the form of sugar.

It is the algae that provide coral reefs with their vibrant color.” “Coral bleaching mainly occurs when a rise in sea temperatures causes the algae to produce toxins.” “In self-defense, the corals then expel the algae, which exposes their limestone skeleton.” “Corals can recover if there is a subsequent drop in water temperatures, but without the algae, they risk starving to death.” “Scientists have warned for decades that burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases that warm the oceans and put coral at risk.” “Greenhouse gas emissions can be cut by reducing meat consumption and using solar and electric energy instead of fossil fuels.” SOURCES: Nature, New York Times, ABC http://go.nature.com/2nGShaq http://nyti.ms/2m1ofll http://ab.co/2ntpwi1 *** For story suggestions please contact [email protected] For technical and editorial support, please contact: Asia: +61 2 93 73 1841 Europe: +44 20 7542 7599 Americas and Latam: +1 800 738 8377




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