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The Great Barrier Reef has lost more than 50 percent of its coral in the last 25 years. Andreas Dietzel

The Great Barrier Reef has lost more than 50 percent of its coral in the last 25 years, and the climate crisis is to blame.

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At least 17 dead dolphins washed up on Mauritius' beaches Wednesday, raising questions about what effect the oil spilled from the Japanese cargo tanker MV Wakashio, which ran aground on July 25, is having on marine life surrounding the Indian Ocean island-nation, according to Reuters.

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A large patch of leaked oil and the vessel MV Wakashio near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of southeast Mauritius on Aug. 6, 2020. AFP via Getty Images

The environmental disaster that Mauritius is facing is starting to appear as its pristine waters turn black, its fish wash up dead, and its sea birds are unable to take flight, as they are limp under the weight of the fuel covering them. For all the damage to the centuries-old coral that surrounds the tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean, scientists are realizing that the damage could have been much worse and there are broad lessons for the shipping industry, according to Al Jazeera.

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By Shawna Foo

Anyone who's tending a garden right now knows what extreme heat can do to plants. Heat is also a concern for an important form of underwater gardening: growing corals and "outplanting," or transplanting them to restore damaged reefs.

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Bystanders watch the MV Wakashio bulk carrier from which oil is leaking near Blue Bay Marine Park in southeast Mauritius, on August 6, 2020. Photo by Dev Ramkhelawon / L'Express Maurice / AFP / Getty Images

The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, renowned for its coral reefs, is facing an unprecedented ecological catastrophe after a tanker ran aground offshore and began leaking oil.

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Scientists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science are engineering heat-resistant corals. Jonas Gratzer / Mongabay

By Johan Augustin

In a lab on Australia's east coast, scientists are concocting what they hope will be the solution to the steadily worsening problem of coral bleaching.

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A landmark study by Global FinPrint reveals sharks are absent on many of the world's coral reefs, indicating they are functionally extinct. Global FinPrint

By JoAnn Adkins

A landmark study by Global FinPrint reveals sharks are absent on many of the world's coral reefs, indicating they are functionally extinct — too rare to fulfill their normal role in the ecosystem.

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Divers tend to coral outplants anchored to an underwater structure. NOAA

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

Coral reefs are often called the "rainforests of the sea" because they harbor some of the highest levels of biodiversity of any ecosystem in the world. But as sea temperatures rise, coral reef systems are suffering mass bleaching events, leading to widespread mortality. One way to try and restore coral reef systems is coral reef gardening or "outplanting," a method of growing coral fragments in a nursery and transferring them to ailing reef systems. But like naturally grown coral, it's hard to keep outplants alive, especially with climate change steadily raising global sea temperatures.

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Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

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Non-profit organization Global Coralition draws on art, science and local communities for its coral reef restoration work. youtu.be

By David Elliott

Dive beneath the brilliant blue waters surrounding Thailand's Koh Tao island and you might come face to face with a giant sculpture of the sea goddess Mazu.

But a closer look reveals an even bigger surprise – Mazu is alive.

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Humpback whale splashing in the North West Atlantic Ocean, Massachusetts. Tim Graham / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

In a move that environmentalists warned could further imperil hundreds of endangered species and a protected habitat for the sake of profit, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation rolling back an Obama-era order and opening nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of New England to commercial fishing.

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As restoration managers repair damaged corals, sound recordings can help jumpstart the process of restoring vibrant – and noisy – coral reef ecosystems. CC by 2.0

A healthy coral reef is a noisy place.

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Viruses, pollution and warming ocean temperatures have plagued corals in recent years. The onslaught of abuse has caused mass bleaching events and threatened the long-term survival of many ocean species. While corals have little chance of surviving through a mass bleaching, a new study found that when corals turn a vibrant neon color, it's in a last-ditch effort to survive, as CBS News reported.

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