Coral bleaching results when the symbiotic zooxanthellae (single-celled algae) are released from the original host coral organism due to stress.
The corals that form the structure of the great reef ecosystems of tropical seas depend on these symbiotic photosynthesizing unicellular algae called "zooxanthellae" that live within their tissues.
When the zooxantheallae are expelled, the coral loses its pigment, leading to a bleached or completely white appearance.
Toxins are produced when water temperatures rise.
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