Mysterious bleaching

Bleached coral (Eusmilia fastigiata) on a Caribbean Reef. Image: Christine Loew/Marine Photobank

The smooth coral flower (Eusmilia fastigiata) usually varies in colour from shades of yellow-grey to brown with blue-green tinting and white tentacles, but this particular specimen found on a reef in the Caribbean has been partially bleached. The cause is unclear, as there did not seem to be any bacteria present, and the water temperatures were not high enough to cause the phenomenon. Some of the stress factors associated with bleaching include elevated sea temperature, high light intensity, low salinity and pollutants.

Source: Marine Photobank

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