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Coral reef fish

Corals Under Threat

A large school of bigeye trevally swim past a submarine carrying WHOI scientists descending in Cabu Pulmo National Park, home of the oldest of only three coral reefs on the west coast of North America. Overfishing had decimated pelagic and reef fishes here, but populations have returned after a marine reserve was established in 2005. Along with overfishing, coral reefs are also under threat from climate change and ocean acidification. MIT-WHOI Joint Program graduate student Nathaniel Mollica recently used numerical modeling to show that the ocean’s decreasing pH is making it harder for corals to build their skeletons and leaving them more vulnerable to breaking. (Photo by Simon Thorrold, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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