coral bleaching

Refers to the loss of color of corals due to stress-induced expulsion of symbiotic, unicellular algae called zooxanthellae that live within their tissues. Stress can be induced by: (1) increased water temperatures (often attributed to global warming), (2) starvation caused by a decline in zooplankton levels as a result of overfishing, (3) solar irradiance (photosynthetically active radiation and ultraviolet band light), (4) changes in water chemistry, (5) silt runoff, or (6) pathogen infections.