By Ian Mason
GSS Science Editor
LINCOLN, Neb. — Global warming leads to severe weather conditions and warmer ocean temperatures. This hurts coral reefs, which one billion people depend on for food or income.
Since the early 1980s, scientists have noticed a strange phenomenon where corals — which are classified as animals, not plants, because they don’t make their own food — turn white. They later learned this was a coral beginning to die. In research studies, scientists correlated this phenomenon with rising ocean temperatures and dubbed it “bleaching.”
What exactly is coral bleaching, though? This video explains what coral are, how they get food and why bleaching happens. You’ll learn how global warming plays a part in destroying an animal that has recently been used to treat small-cell lung cancer, melanoma and other life-threatening tumors.
Featured photo: A May 5, 2014 photo taken near Kobe, Japan, illustrates what happens during coral bleaching. Photo by Harum Koh on Flickr.com/Creative Commons 2.0 license.