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Most of Hawaii's coral recover from mass bleaching
January 30, 2015 02:03 GMT

By AUDREY McAVOY Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) -- Hawaii's corals are recovering after being stressed by warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures last year.

But scientists warn the strain of being in warmer water weakened them. This makes the coral more susceptible to disease. The coral are also now more likely to die the next time the waters around them heat up.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Thursday the coral bleaching that occurred during the warming event was the worst on record for Hawaii.

The phenomenon is called bleaching because warm water prompts coral to expel their algae and lose their color.

Mark Eakin coordinates the Coral Reef Watch program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He says the bleaching demonstrates climate change isn't in the distant future but is happening now.