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Coral Bleaching and Oxybenzone - Choose Your Sunscreen Carefully

Updated on October 23, 2015
AliciaC profile image

Linda Crampton is a teacher with an honours degree in biology. She loves to study nature and write about animals and plants.

A coral reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge
A coral reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge | Source

Coral Reefs and Oxybenzone

Coral reefs are extremely valuable ecosystems. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that a million or more species may live in and around coral reefs, including about 4000 species of fish and 800 species of hard corals. Hard or stony corals are the organisms that make the coral reef. Sadly, researchers have found evidence that oxybenzone, a common ingredient in sunscreens, damages coral reefs even when it's present in a low concentration. The chemical enters the ocean when we swim with sunscreen on our skin and when wastewater drains from our homes after we have washed ourselves.

Biologically, humans are animals. In fact, about 98.4% of our DNA (our genetic material) is identical to that in chimpanzees. Researchers are finding more and more similarities between chimpanzee and human behaviour. Nevertheless, the small percentage of DNA that is unique to humans has given us the most advanced brain on the planet and some comparatively impressive abilities. In my opinion, it has also given us the responsibility to preserve the Earth not only for ourselves but also for other life forms. These life forms include corals and the creatures that depend on them. We are failing woefully in our task.

A puffer fish at the entrance to a cave on a coral reef
A puffer fish at the entrance to a cave on a coral reef | Source

The Coral Reef

The protective calcium carbonate (or limestone) coverings built by colonial hard corals make a reef. The reef starts near the shore and may extend as far as tens or even hundreds of miles into the ocean.

Structure of a coral reef
Structure of a coral reef | Source

Importance of Coral Reefs

Coral reefs have many benefits for both the ocean environment and humans. Some of the key ones are described below.

  • Coral reefs provide a habitat or a feeding area for a diverse collection of sea creatures and are an important part of the ocean ecosystem.
  • Reefs act as a buffer that protects shorelines from erosion. They also reduce the chance of wave damage to shoreline habitats, businesses and property and decrease the loss of human life from wave action.
  • Coral reefs are often important to the local economy. Tourists, divers, photographers, people who want to fish for food and those who want to collect natural sponges are all attracted to coral reefs. (Any harvesting of coral creatures should be sustainable, which is another topic of concern.)
  • An important reason for maintaining biodiversity on Earth is that living things provide us with new medicines. Researchers are finding chemicals in coral that may be useful in treating human diseases.

Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth.

— NOAA
Coral polyps extended on Molasses Reef in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Coral polyps extended on Molasses Reef in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary | Source
The body of a coral is known as a polyp.
The body of a coral is known as a polyp. | Source

What are Corals?

Corals are small animals whose body consists of a soft polyp. The polyp is tubular and has a mouth surrounded by tentacles at its upper end and a cavity in the middle that acts as a stomach. Each polyp secretes a calcium carbonate covering to protect itself. This covering is often referred to as a skeleton. The coral can extend its body out of its skeleton and retract into it as necessary.

The skeletons of the different polyps in a colonial coral stick together. When old or injured polyps die, new polyps grow on top of the dead polyps' skeletons. This process slowly builds a coral reef.

A layer of soft tissue called the cenosarc (or coenosarc) connects one polyp to another over the surface of the reef. This enables the polyps in a colony to communicate with each other.

Zooxanthellae are one-celled organisms that live in the outer layer of a coral polyp, Many zooxanthellae belong to the genus Symbiodinium, which is shown in this photo.
Zooxanthellae are one-celled organisms that live in the outer layer of a coral polyp, Many zooxanthellae belong to the genus Symbiodinium, which is shown in this photo. | Source

The Importance of Zooxanthellae in Reef Corals

The corals that make up a coral reef normally have tiny, one-celled creatures in their tissues. These creatures are referred to as zooxanthellae and are a type of dinoflagellate. Dinoflagellates are often classified as algae.

The zooxanthellae are found near the surface of a polyp. They absorb light and carry out photosynthesis. In this process, a carbohydrate food source is made from simple molecules with the aid of light energy.

Zooxanthellae and corals have a mutualistic relationship. The zooxanthellae receive protection as well as the carbon dioxide and water needed for photosynthesis. The corals absorb some of the food and oxygen made by the zooxanthellae. Coral tentacles do have stinging cells that can trap small animals, but 80% to 90% of a reef coral's food comes from its zooxanthellae.

A Time Lapse Video of the Great Barrier Reef

What is El Niño?

El Niño is believed to play a role in coral bleaching. El Niño is a phenomenon in which there are unusually warm temperatures in the Pacific Ocean around the equator. Since the ocean temperature affects the air above the water and movements of air in the atmosphere contribute to our weather, El Niño can influence weather patterns.

Coral Bleaching

In addition to providing the coral's main food source, zooxanthellae give a coral its colour. When corals are stressed in some way, they release their zooxanthellae into the surrounding seawater and become white in colour. This process is known as coral bleaching.

The main cause of coral bleaching seems to be a rise in water temperature due to an increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Bleaching in coral reefs near shorelines can be caused by pollution runoff from the land. Our personal care products may contribute to this pollution. Exposure to sunlight in shallow water and to air during very low tides can also contribute to bleaching. There may be other triggers for zooxanthellae release that are presently unknown. The process of coral bleaching isn't completely understood.

Corals can sometimes recover from a temporary bleaching event. Some polyps may be able to obtain enough food on their own and some may be able to obtain new zooxanthellae. Survival is a struggle after bleaching, however. The longer bleaching lasts, the less likely a coral is to recover. We have already lost large areas of coral reef due to bleaching.

Locally produced threats to coral, such as pollution from the land and unsustainable fishing practices, stress the health of corals and decrease the likelihood that corals can either resist bleaching or recover from it,

— Jennifer Koss, NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program

Coral Bleaching and a Theory to Explain Zooxanthellae Release

The Third Global Coral Bleaching Event

In October 2015, NOAA declared the existence of the third global coral bleaching event. What is so worrying about this event is that it's predicted to last well into 2016. There are serious concerns that coral reefs will be unable to recover from this bleaching. The cause of the bleaching is believed to be warmer water due to climate change and the latest El Niño. It's thought that the 2015-2016 El Niño may be a "super El Niño" that causes major effects.

Global warming is taking place due to an increased level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases. It traps heat above the Earth's surface. Some of the carbon dioxide in the air enters the ocean, causing it to become more acidic. The average temperature of the oceans and atmosphere and the acidity of the oceans are all increasing. The powerful video below shows the possible and final result of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on the world's coral reefs. I don't consider it to be an exaggeration.

While carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a very important topic to consider with respect to coral health, it's also important to consider other factors that weaken coral. Research suggests that oxybenzone is one of these factors.

Coral Reefs and Climate Change - A Possible Outcome

What is Oxybenzone?

Oxybenzone is also known as benzophenone-3. It's a white solid that has the interesting ability to absorb ultraviolet light. Oxybenzone a broad-spectrum sunscreen that absorbs both UVA and UVB light rays. It's produced synthetically by a chemical reaction.

Oxybenzone is added to many commercial sunscreens as well as some cosmetics and hairsprays because of its ability to stop UV damage to the skin and hair. It's also added to some food packaging to prevent the breakdown of the package when it's exposed to light.

There is a lot of controversy about the safety of oxybenzone for humans. It causes contact dermatitis in some people. It can be absorbed through the skin and has been found in the urine of most people who have been tested. There have been claims that it's an endocrine (hormone) disrupter. Not everyone agrees with this last idea, though. Some researchers say there is no reliable evidence that oxybenzone is harmful to humans, apart from its ability to irritate the skin of sensitive people.

This article is primarily concerned with oxybenzone's effects on coral reefs, but there is a link in the "References and Further Reading" section below for those who would like to explore its effects on humans.

Benzophenones

Oxybenzone or benzophenone-3 belongs to a family of sunscreen chemicals known as the benzophenones. The American Contact Dermatitis Society gave benzophenones the Allergen of the Year award in 2014.

Effects of Oxybenzone on Coral Reefs

A recent study focused on the effects of oxybenzone on a coral named Stylophora pistillata. The research team looked at the effect of oxybenzone on coral larvae and adults. They made the following discoveries, which were published in the Environmental Contamination and Toxicology journal.

  • Under lab conditions, oxybenzone transformed the coral larvae, or planulae, from a motile state to a deformed and sessile state.
  • The chemical caused the coral to make an enlarged skeleton and to become encased in it. The researchers stated that oxybenzone is "a skeletal endocrine disruptor" in coral.
  • Oxybenzone also damaged the coral DNA.
  • As the concentration of oxybenzone increased, the degree of coral bleaching increased.
  • Although oxybenzone was harmful under all light conditions, it exerted stronger effects in the light than in the dark.
  • The oxybenzone concentration around coral reefs in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands was found to be in similar or even larger than that used in the experiments.

Hawksbill turtle, Woodhouse Reef
Hawksbill turtle, Woodhouse Reef | Source

Effects of Benzophenone-2 on Coral

We need to be careful when assessing results produced by only one researcher or only one research team. Accidental errors in procedure are always possible. Scientists who are not involved in an experiment often note new discoveries with interest and then look for confirmation in a second experiment. There is evidence that doesn't confirm the results of the latest discoveries about oxybenzone but does suggest that they are accurate, however.

In 2013, NOAA scientists explored the ways in which a chemical called benzophenone-2 affects corals. Benzophenone-2 is a relative of benzophenone-3 (or oxybenzone). Like benzophenone-3, it blocks ultraviolet light. It's not approved for use as a sunscreen in the United States, however. Benzophenone-2 is used in soaps, fragrances and cosmetics instead of sunscreen. This means that it can reach the ocean in wastewater from homes after we wash ourselves.

Sometimes a small change is chemical structure can produce a big change in a chemical's properties. Still, it's interesting to note that the NOAA scientists found that like benzophenone-3, benzophenone-2 causes coral bleaching and damages coral DNA.

joakant, via pixabay.com, CC0 public domain license
joakant, via pixabay.com, CC0 public domain license | Source

Viral Activation and Zooxanthellae Release

An experiment reported in 2008 showed that four chemicals commonly found in sunscreen could damage coral. One of the four chemicals was simply identified as "benzophenone". The corals were surrounded by a plastic bag so that the sunscreen ingredient being tested didn't contaminate the local seawater. While this act was commendable, it prevented the normal dilution of chemicals created by water movement around reefs and may have affected the results.

The researchers said that the sunscreen ingredients activated dormant viruses within the zooxanthellae in the coral, destroying them. This may be one of the causes of coral bleaching. As far as I know, however, the claim hasn't been confirmed.

Feather star on the coral reef, Dahab
Feather star on the coral reef, Dahab | Source

Sun Safety

There is no doubt that we need to protect our skin from the sun in order to reduce the chance of developing skin cancer. Although protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and staying indoors around the middle of the day are useful, sunscreen may be needed.

Dermatologists and health agencies say that we should be wearing sunscreen all year round to protect us from both premature skin aging and skin cancer. It's therefore very important that we choose a safe product to apply to our skin for both our sake and the environment's.

People with pigment loss due to vitiligo (including me) must keep the skin areas without pigment away from the sun by clothing or sunscreen. Melanin is a pigment in skin of any colour that absorbs radiation from the skin and gives us some protection from the sun's radiation. Melanin is never a suitable substitute for sunscreen or sun protection, though. In vitiligo, areas of skin lose their ability to make melanin.

An orange-lined triggerfish (in the foreground) swimming over a coral reef
An orange-lined triggerfish (in the foreground) swimming over a coral reef | Source

Sunscreen and Coral Reef Safety

So far, there is no evidence that mineral sunscreens harm coral. Mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which exist naturally in the Earth. They are often considered to be the healthiest sunscreen for humans as well as coral reefs.

Unfortunately, mineral sunscreens give a white, pasty appearance to the skin. Reducing the minerals to tiny nanoparticle size eliminates or greatly reduces this whiteness. There are concerns about whether or not these nanoparticles can penetrate the skin and about whether or not they are harmful if they do so. Still, mineral sunscreens - especially those containing zinc oxide - seem to be the safest option for humans and the environment that is available today.

Elkhart coral in Biscayne National Park in Florida
Elkhart coral in Biscayne National Park in Florida | Source

Consumer Beware

The ultimate decision about whether to buy a chemical or a mineral sunscreen and about which brand to buy is up to the individual. I urge people to consider coral reef safety when choosing a sunscreen, however. This is especially true when sunscreen is worn regularly and reapplied frequently, as health agencies tell us to do.

Consumer research is very worthwhile in order to find a sunscreen that fulfills three very important goals. These goals are the prevention of skin damage from UV light, the avoidance of damage to other parts of the body and the prevention of damage to coral reefs and the rest of the environment. While climate change seems to be a major cause of coral destruction, other factors are making the situation worse. Even if we aren't actively working to save ocean life, we can help coral reefs and the environment by ensuring that our cosmetics - including our sunscreens - don't contribute to ocean pollution.

© 2015 Linda Crampton

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    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 15 months ago from The Beautiful South

      Ah; there is just nothing more beautiful is there? I would certainly never want to do anything to damage them. Great message!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I agree, Jackie. Coral reefs are beautiful, and I certainly don't want to damage them. Thank you very much for the comment.

    • hejabaa profile image

      Ali A AlHejab 15 months ago from Saudi Arabia

      Great job on this hub, Alicia! I enjoy learning these types of Coral Bleaching and Oxybenzone by reading your informative hubs. All the ups except funny .

      Best wishes

      Ali

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 15 months ago from California

      Great article--but so sad and worrisome

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you, Ali. I appreciate your comment and the virtual votes very much!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Audrey. Thank you very much for the visit and the comment. I agree with you - the situation is both sad and worrisome.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 15 months ago from Massachusetts

      Very interesting Linda. It's amazing how something seemingly as simple as putting on sunscreen can have such an impact on the environment. Thanks for the education. Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      As I approach my 4th anniversary on HP I can honestly say I'm growing weary of reading so many hubs, but yours are always interesting. I always learn something that is fascinating from your articles, and I really appreciate the information you pass on to us...so thank you!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you, Bill. Yes, it is interesting that our everyday actions can have such important effects on the environment. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for such a lovely comment, Bill. I always appreciate your visits and support. I hope you have a great weekend, too!

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 15 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      I've been avoiding Oxybenzone sunscreens because I use so very much sunscreen to prevent lupus problems and it didn't seem like a good idea to be basically constantly soaking in the stuff. Skin can absorb a lot over time, especially if the skin is kept soft and hydrated by lotion carriers. Now I can just skip that explanation based on a vague concern about absorbing too much through my skin and tell people Benzophenone-3 may be bleaching the world's coral and I don't want to add buckets of it to the environment.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm sorry that you have lupus, Kylyssa. I would love the fact that benzophenone-3 may be harming the environment to be publicized, though! Thank you very much for the comment.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 15 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      I've always wondered how much of what we put on our skin seeps into our bodies by osmosis. Thank you for an interesting article - we certainly need to be aware of the problems that we can cause for our beautiful coral reefs.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Blossom. Thanks for the visit. Like you, I think we should definitely be aware of our role in the problems faced by corals.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 15 months ago from San Diego California

      Brilliantly researched and articulated hub. I am now going to be more conscious about the type of sunscreen I use, because I use it every day. So true that we are all interrelated, whether we wish to believe that or not. Great hub!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much for such a kind comment, Mel. I appreciate your visit. I strongly believe that we are all interrelated, too. I wish more people realized that many of our actions affect other living things.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 15 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Fantastic hub Alicia. I just watched current affairs program on tv two nights ago about the dangers that oxybenzone in sunscreens is posing to our Great Barrier Reef. Then I saw this hub. You certainly covered it all. Well done.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Jodah. I appreciate your comment a great deal. I'm very glad that the oxybenzone situation is being publicized. The more people that hear about it, the better!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 15 months ago from southern USA

      Thank you so much for bringing all of this to our attention, dear Linda!

      We certainly don't want to add to harming the coral and ourselves. My husband uses tons of sunscreen each day as he is so sensitive to the sun, but I am certainly going to check what he is using! My cosmetics have sunscreen in them and my moisturizer does too, so I need to find out exactly what is in them.

      I will share everywhere to help get the word out.

      Blessings always

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment and all the shares, Faith! I appreciate your kindness. So many cosmetics have sunscreen in them nowadays, which is good for providing sun protection. It's not good if it's hurting the environment, though.

      Blessings to you as well, Faith.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 15 months ago from Dubai

      Interesting and informative article. Will make sure that the sunscreen that I use does not harm the coral reefs and will spread the word.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the visit and the comment, Vellur. I appreciate your action, too!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 15 months ago from south Florida

      Fascinating information, Alicia, about corals and the potential damage caused by some sunscreens. Especially enjoyed the video of the coral reefs. Thanks for exposing us to your unique knowledge and research.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you, drbj. I always appreciate your comments!

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 15 months ago from Europe

      An amazing article, which I read two times before I fully understood the full scope of your message. I am an avid scuba diver, and have dived in many stunning and remote areas, but I never realized that I could have harmed some of these areas with the choice of the sunscreen :(

      The thing is that many scuba divers and snorkellers have no idea how vulnerable these reefs are. I was in the supposition that I knew, and I'm simply flabbergasted that this obviously wasn't the case. I just don't know what to say.

      Maybe I will shout it out loud from the rooftops. Thank you for covering this wonderful topic so well!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much for the kind comment and for the desire to share the news, Buildreps. Thank you for sharing the information about scuba divers, too. It sounds like there is much work to be done.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 15 months ago from New York

      I did not know this. Thank you so much for the valuable enlightenment! Now I am really glad I don't use sunscreen. I can hear the GASPS! Nope. Never used it in 60 plus years. I don't have skin cancer nor am I wrinkled up like an old prune from all the sun exposure I have had all my life. (Grin)

      As a kid, all we ever used was zinc oxide on our noses when out surfing, but that was it.

      Now that I know about this oxybenzone I will make a point to look for this ingredient in the products friends use when swimming in ocean waters and in also in other beauty products as well.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 15 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      It's so important to know about these chemicals that we use so often and their damaging effects on the environment. Thanks for this informative article and the education about chemicals in common products. The photos were spectacular.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      That's an amazing story, Kailua-KonaGirl! Thank you very much for the interesting comment. I appreciate your visit.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Peg. Yes, I think it is very important that we know about household chemicals that can hurt the environment. Thanks for the comment!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 15 months ago from Oklahoma

      Disturbing information. I didn't realize my sunscreen could have a negative effect on coral life. I'll have to choose sunscreen more carefully in the future.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the visit, Larry. It is disturbing information. It's very worrying that our sunscreen may be damaging coral reefs.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 15 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Once again, this was another one of your wonderful hubs. I've been always fascinated with coral reefs in the ocean and never heard of coral bleaching. I've been always interested with anything that deals with the environment--land and on the ocean. Great work with lovely photos!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the kind comment, Kristen! I'm fascinated by coral reefs, too. They are home to such interesting creatures.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 14 months ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is a very interesting and well written hub! It is very important to be careful as to what we put back into our environment. Your choice of photos and videos is excellent too! Sharing this! Great job! :)

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much, Sheila! I appreciate your kind comment and the share a great deal.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 14 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Informative and beautiful images though such effects were not known to me until I read your hub.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 14 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Alicia, I always loved coral reefs. I downloaded several pictures of the great coral reef on my computer so I can look at them every once in a while. It's shame if any of them at all get destroyed or ruined. I imagine there are a lot of things we humans can do to prevent that. Thank you for sharing this hub and all the great pictures.

      Blessings to you.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 14 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I love the beauty of our Coral reefs and loved the photos but how sad that our pollution, apart from ( benzophenone-2 causes coral bleaching and damages coral DNA) and sunscreen as an example is threatening so many species. Great video: Coral Reefs and Climate Change. As always one of the best regular articles on Hubpages.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, Devika.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Rachel. Yes, I think there are a lot of things that we can do to help the situation. The problem is that many people aren't willing to do these things. I hope this situation changes! Thank you very much for the comment.

      Blessings to you as well, Rachel.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Nadine. Thank you very much for such a kind comment! I love the video, too. I think it's very effective at showing the future of the ocean if we don't change our behaviour.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 14 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Beautiful, fascinating and disconcerting, Linda, with stunning photography. Really...this is a must-read for everyone.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment, Genna. The situation is certainly worrying. We are treating the ocean and its inhabitants badly at the moment. I hope things improve in the near future.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 14 months ago from USA

      Such an important hub, Linda. Thank you for the information! We don't treat our home very well.

    • Rabadi profile image

      14 months ago from New York

      Congrats on getting editors choice, great blog, keep them coming! Passing this along to family and friends.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Flourish. Thanks for the comment. Sadly, I have to agree with you. We don't treat our home very well!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Rabadi. It's nice to meet you! Thank you very much for the comment and the shares.

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      Deb Hirt 14 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      What have we wrought? It see,ms that everything nowadays is detrimental to the environment. We are simply destroying the earth, and once it is gone, so are we...This article gives a great awareness to what is going on in the destruction of the environment. Now, all we need to do is figure out on how to reverse the effects...

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Deb. Yes, the situation is depressing. We definitely do need to figure out how to reverse the effects and how to stop further damage to the environment. Thanks for the visit.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 14 months ago from South Africa

      Wow! What an interesting article. Who would have guessed that sunscreens are going to have such a bad effect on corals? I hope they have already taken them off the shelves. I will take a good look at the ingredients whenever I need to buy a sunscreen again.

      Thanks for a fascinating hub, Alicia!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment, Martie! Unfortunately, oxybenzone is still a component of some sunscreens. It's a sad situation.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 14 months ago from sunny Florida

      Wow....quite a wondrous sharing, Alicia. Having swum in and among corals I do get it. Some of the most AMAZING fishes I ever saw up close and personal were there.

      The video brought the danger home so clearly as does your article.

      Thank you for taking the time to care...and then to write about it. shared g+ tweeted pinned

      Angels are once again on the way to you ps

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much for the comment and the shares, Patricia. Marine life is awesome, especially around coral reefs. It's great to hear about your experience! I appreciate your visit and the lovely angels a great deal.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 14 months ago from England

      Once again something I hadn't thought of, but is so important. I will definitely look out for the 'safe' suncream in future. I have a friend who has vitiligo too, she always wears big hats and dark glasses etc out in the sun, thanks I learned something new, nell

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Nell. Thanks for visiting and for the comment. I look for safe sunscreens, too. They are available.

    • Kelsey Farrell profile image

      Kelsey Elise Farrell 13 months ago from Orange County, CA

      This hub was so incredibly well researched I'm kind of embarrassed for some of the stuff I put out. Thank you for posting such an informative and useful hub!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 13 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment, Kelsey! I appreciate your kindness. I'm sure you don't need to be embarrassed about your stuff!

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      Lana Zakinov 13 months ago from California

      I haven't been using chemical sunscreens in a while, after reading about its link to skin cancer and other skin conditions. nowadays you can buy safe organic sunscreens almost anywhere, even at Walmart, so why not use it? Great article, Alicia!

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      Linda Crampton 13 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, kalinin1158. Thanks for the comment! I agree - it's a great idea to buy a sunscreen that's safe for humans. There are some unpleasant things in some sunscreens!

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      Kathi 12 months ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      The video on Coral Reef and Climate change is amazing and powerful. The photography is very crisp! I will think twice before putting on sunscreen and try to use the brands that have zinc oxide! I am going to provide a link to this article on my fossil site where I have introduced different species of coral, both extinct and mostly from Florida! Great work, very thorough as usual Alicia!

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      Linda Crampton 12 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Fossillady. I'm impressed by that video, too. It's both moving and worrying. Thank you very much for the kind comment and the link. I appreciate them both!

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      Mary Norton 11 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am so sorry to see how our beautiful under water world is affected as I have enjoyed them immensely and would like to see the next generation enjoy it.

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      Linda Crampton 11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, aesta1. I agree - I hope the next generation and beyond are able to appreciate the beauty of the ocean. Thanks for the visit.

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      Peggy Woods 10 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I found this hub of yours to not only be informative but fascinating as well. Each video was worth taking the time to view. That last one portends disaster. Hopefully it is not too late to save the coral reefs. We need them for many reasons. Will certainly consider what type of sunscreen we use in the future. Shared, pinned and tweeted. Excellent post!!!

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      Linda Crampton 10 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much for watching the videos and for all the shares, Peggy. The future of coral reefs is a worrying situation that we need to deal with in the present. I appreciate your visit and comment a great deal.

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      Audrey Hunt 9 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      Well I did not know that coral was an animal! In fact I've learned so much in reading this fascinating (and alarming) hub of yours. I'm also going to check my sunscreen. :) It will be mineral based from now on. Excellent work here. Marvelous video and photos. Thanks Alicia for educating me. I'll pass this on!

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      Linda Crampton 9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment and for passing the information on, Audrey. The information is alarming, but perhaps if we take action now we can avoid a catastrophe. I certainly hope so!

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      Audrey Hunt 9 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      I hope so too Alicia! This is one reason I'm sharing this hub with friends and family. Pinning and tweeting too. :)

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      Linda Crampton 9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I appreciate all the shares, Audrey! Thanks for the second visit.

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