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Too Big for its Stomach?

Liz Drenkard, a student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, studies how nutrition affects corals' responses to ocean acidification. Here, she photographed coral polyps under a microscope, one of them enjoying a meal of ground shrimp. "Unlike tropical corals, Astrangia poculata can withstand cold winters and is abundant on dock pilings in Woods Hole, Mass.," she said. "Under stress, many corals 'bleach,' losing the internal symbiotic photosynthesizing algae that give them color and nutrition. But Astrangia can get by just fine without the algae—these corals are voracious eaters, preying on small plankton in the water." (Photo by Liz Drenkard, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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