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Treating reefs with bacteria helps them recover from bleachings due to heat waves

Recent years have seen a spate of coral bleaching events, where reefs stressed by unusually warm waters turned white. Scientists have sought different ways of protecting corals from such bleaching, such as pumping cold water into threatened reefs or engineering the algae that live in corals to better tolerate heat. In the latest entry into this field, researchers determined that treating corals with friendly bacteria before an ocean heat wave may help them recover from the resulting bleaching event.

When the sea grows too hot, corals expel the colorful algae that live in their tissues, leaving them at greater risk of disease or death.

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