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Images: Searching for ‘Super Reefs’

Graduate student Hanny Rivera takes a tissue sample from a bleached coral. When ocean waters warm, corals lose their colorful endosymbiotic algae, and their white skeletons become visible beneath their transparent tissue. (Tom DeCarlo, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
All coral colonies start off as a single newly settled polyp, or “spat” (right). This single polyp grows and divides asexually into thousands of clonal polyps that form a colony. (Hanny Rivera, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Hanny Rivera hovers above a coral colony while extracting a core of a coral skeleton. One tank provides her with oxygen while the other one between her legs provides compressed air to power a drill to extract a core. The drill is a hollowed corer with a diamond-crusted tip. Several scuba tanks might be needed to extract a core, depending on the core's length. Often while scientists are coring, another team member stays at the surface on snorkel. When one coring tanks is out of air, scientists detach it from the drill, and it floats to the surface, where the other team member catches it and and brings it back to the boat. (Tom DeCarlo, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Corals in Rock Islands reefs tolerate warmer and more acidic waters than corals in the outer reefs. As climate change raises the temperatures and acidity of ocean waters, graduate student Hanny Rivera is studying the genetics of these coral populations. She is exploring whether offspring from the more resiliant Rock Islands corals might be able to travel to the outer reefs to help sustain coral populations there. (Natalie Renier, WHOI Creative Studio)
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