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Previously unknown algal species killing coral reefs in Papahanaumokukea Marine NMon

On a routine trip to monitor ocean wildlife near the northwestern Hawaiian Islands in 2016, researchers noticed small patches of red algae they had never seen before growing on the coral reefs.

When they returned last summer, the algae had spread exponentially. Mat-like layers now cover vast swaths of coral in the Pearl and Hermes Atoll, a remote, uninhabited portion of the protected Hawaiian Islands around 1,200 miles from Honolulu.

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