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Watch How Global Warming Stresses Corals Out

They expel greenish clouds of beneficial algae, leaving them depleted and vulnerable to death.
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Brett Lewis/QUT

The world’s oceans are in the midst of their third-recorded, and largest known, mass bleaching event, a phenomenon in which extreme temperatures make corals turn chalky white and eventually die.

Every significant reef region on the planet has been touched by the necrotic hand of bleaching, which is partly caused by climate change; nearly a quarter of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef alone has perished. So what’s going on under the waves? Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology have answered that with weirdly fascinating footage of hot corals undergoing “pulsed inflation”—which, to anyone who’s puked to the point of dry heaves, will be distressingly familiar.