CORAL REEFS

Threats of coastal hypoxia

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Science  07 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6333, pp. 38
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6333.38-a

Dead zones, often seen in temperate regions, may be a threat to coral reefs.

PHOTO: WATERFRAME/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Global alarm about the fate of tropical coastal coral reefs has recently been heightened by bleaching events brought about by El Niño. Altieri et al. focus on a potential additional source of mortality: “dead zones” resulting from hypoxic conditions. These zones of low dissolved oxygen are well known along temperate coasts but are now a potential threat in tropical coastal waters, too. The hypoxic event recorded by the authors on the Panamanian coast led to coral bleaching and mortality of reef organisms. Corals in tropical waters elsewhere may be at risk from similar events.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnaqs.1621517114 (2017).

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