Fact Friday

If you are familiar with corals, you may be shocked by these bright colors.  These corals are stressed by warm water and increased UV exposure.  They have expelled their symbiotic algae, responsible for their normal green and brown colors, and soon these coral will be white, indicating they are close to death.  The bright colors come from fluorescent pigments, used as sunscreen now that the algae are no longer shading the coral.  See photos and videos of a bleaching event here.

Credit: Derek Manzello

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Crown of Thorns Starfish

December 1, 2023

Crown of Thorns Starfish

Crown-of-Thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), also known as COTS, are named for their long venomous spines that cover their body and up to 23 arms. These menacing predators eat living coral and (for obvious reasons) they have few natural predators. Sometimes COTS populations can explode and completely destroy the coral on a reef. Learn more in this short education video: 


Photo Credit: Ken Marks