Environmental bleaching impairs long-term coral reproduction

Repeating Islands

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A new study by a Florida State University biologist shows that bleaching events brought on by rising sea temperatures are having a detrimental long-term impact on coral. Bleaching — a process where high water temperatures or UV light stresses the coral to the point where it loses its symbiotic algal partner that provides the coral with color — is also affecting the long-term fertility of the coral.

Professor Don Levitan, chair of the Department of Biological Science, writes in the latest issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series that bleaching — a process where high water temperatures or UV light stresses the coral to the point where it loses its symbiotic algal partner that provides the coral with color — is also affecting the long-term fertility of the coral. “Even corals that didn’t bleach aren’t reproducing at the levels they should,” Levitan said.

Most corals reproduce by releasing sperm and eggs…

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