Heron, Scott F. Coral Reef Watch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Eakin, C. Mark Coral Reef Watch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Last reviewed:January 2022
- Environmental stress
- Occurrence of coral bleaching
- Global climate change
- Impact of coral bleaching
- Future outlook
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The response of corals to environmental stress in which they eject the single-cell algae that live within the transparent coral tissue, making the white coral skeleton visible. Corals (Fig. 1) are animals that live in a partnership (symbiosis) with single-cell plants, specifically, a type of algae called zooxanthellae (genus Symbiodinium). These algae live inside the coral tissue and use sunlight to generate energy through photosynthesis, just as terrestrial (land) plants do. Zooxanthellae provide up to 90% of their coral host's energy requirements. This partnership enables corals to construct the calcium carbonate skeletons that form reefs up to thousands of miles in extent. The complex three-dimensional structure of reefs provides habitat for a wide array of plants and animals, including as much as one-quarter of all ocean fish species. People also benefit from coral reefs; not only do coral reefs provide a supply of fish for human food consumption, but they also (1) protect coastlines from erosion by waves, (2) act as a source for compounds used in new drug discoveries and medical treatments, and (3) provide areas for tourism and related industries. See also: Algae; Coral reef structural complexity; Ecological communities; Ecosystem; Marine ecology; Mutualism; Photosynthesis; Reef; Symbiosis
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information