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Coral bleaching refers to the process in which a coral colony loses zooxanthellae, the microscopic algae, when under some form of environmental stress.

As zooxanthellae are expelled, the coral colony appears white, hence the term “bleached.”

Due to the intake of carbon dioxide by the ocean, the pH levels decrease.

In other words, the carbon dioxide we emit does not only stay in the atmosphere but in fact, is absorbed by the ocean as well.

In effect, as the concentration of carbon dioxide in the ocean increases, ocean acidification takes place.

In turn, ocean acidification has a serious impact on coral reefs and in effect, causes coral bleaching.

Essentially, the high carbon dioxide levels inhibit coral reefs from building their skeletons.

Millions of marine species depend on coral colonies and hence, if the latter is bleached, then the entire ocean food chain will be affected.

Still, we do not fully understand the importance and beauty of coral reefs and if we continue unleashing so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, they will soon disappear.

Without a doubt, mankind has an obligation to preserve marine life and thus it has an obligation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in order to save coral reefs, an integral part of the marine food chain.

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