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Uploaded on Feb 3, 2009
Corals live in a partnership with single-celled algae known as zooxanthellae. Coral bleaching occurs when this relationship breaks down under stressful conditions - such as higher-than-normal sea temperatures - and the coral host expels its zooxanthellae. With the algae and the pigments they contain gone, the coral tissue is left transparent, revealing the bright white skeleton beneath.