Reefs in Ruin: Coral Bleaching Around the World

Corals get their color from algae that live inside them, but when stressed, often by a big change in water temperature, they expel the algae and turn white. This process is called "coral bleaching," and it can be deadly to coral and extremely widespread. A team of scientists is sharing before and after photos of coral reefs so others can understand the extent of coral bleaching.

13 photos
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey/Richard Vevers
This image shows the same reef in American Samoa before, during, and after a coral bleaching event.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey/Richard Vevers
A before and after image of the bleaching in American Samoa. The first image was taken in December 2014. The second image was taken in February 2015.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey
This coral was photographed in American Samoa. You can clearly see the white skeleton of the coral which exposed when the tissue of the animal loses its color and becomes transparent.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey
Coral bleaching in Okinawa, Japan, captured in September 2016.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey
Coral bleaching in Okinawa, Japan, captured in September 2016.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey
A panoramic image of coral bleaching in the Maldives captured in May 2016.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey
Documenting the dead coral after the bleaching event at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef, captured in May 2016.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey
Algae covers dead coral after the bleaching event, captured at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef in May 2016.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey
Starfish on a dying coral reef, captured at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef in May 2016.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey/Richard Vevers & Christophe Bailhache
Before and after image showing coral bleaching at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef in March 2016, and the same reef in May 2016 after the coral had died.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey/Richard Vevers & Christophe Bailhache
A before and after image of coral bleaching and later dying in March / May 2016, at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey
These two images side-by-side show the exact same location in Hawaii before and after coral bleaching.
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The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey
A turtle swims over the bleached coral at Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef in February 2016.
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