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31 January 2018

As the world’s oceans heat up with climate change, coral reefs are increasingly under threat. Bleaching events — defense mechanisms against high temperatures that turn corals white — have become more frequent.

From 2010 to 2016, UCLA researchers studied corals off the coast of American Samoa in the South Pacific Ocean to better understand the bleaching process and what it means for the future of these iconic places.

Looking at four similar species of coral, a recently published study found that some corals are more resilient than others — but the resilience comes at a cost: They grow more slowly, making reef recovery a longer process.

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