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Hermit crab

From Corals to Climate Change

WHOI paleoclimatologist Konrad Hughen snapped this photo of a hermit crab during a 2015 expedition to the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Hughen studies climate change by looking at corals. The tiny coral animals called polyps live in the surface layer of a hard calcium carbonate skeleton. Every year, the polyps extract chemicals from the water and use them to build another layer of skeleton—just as a tree produces annual growth rings. By using a hollow drill to extract cores from corals and analyzing their chemical make-up, Hughen can estimate how the temperature of the water has changed over the past several centuries. (Photo by Konrad Hughen, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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