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Our Beautiful Planet

Melanie Hall
June 16, 2017

On our beautiful planet are swathes of nature battling for their survival – one of these are the coral reefs near the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, where bleaching has wrought devastation.

picture-alliance/Woodfall/Photoshot/Y. Fukuda - Coral reef Marshall Islands
Image: picture-alliance/Woodfall/Photoshot/Y. Fukuda

The Marshall Islands are a chain of volcanic atolls and coral islands numbering over 1,100 islands in total. That makes it an important area for scientific research on the declining health of coral reefs because of rising temperatures due to climate change. 

A huge swathe of the Pacific has already been affected by bleaching, and that includes the Marshall Islands, where bleaching of unprecedented severity is suspected to have hit most of the country’s atolls and isles. 

Bleaching is when the water becomes too warm, causing coral to expel the algae that gives it its vibrant color. The coral then take on a white color, and is vulnerable to starvation and disease.

It can recover, but it needs time and it needs healthy coral around it. But if back-to-back bleaching events occur, it leaves little prospect for this recovery.

Do you have a picture of a beautiful landscape that you want to share with readers? If so, you can send it to us using the upload tool on our page, or by emailing us at ecoafrica@dw.com.