SWIMMERS’ SUNSCREEN KILLING OFF CORAL
Ker Than / Nat Geo News

The sunscreen that you dutifully slather on before a swim on the beach may be protecting your body, but the chemicals are also killing coral reefs worldwide.
Four commonly found sunscreen ingredients can awaken dormant viruses in the symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae that live inside reef-building coral species.
The chemicals cause the viruses to replicate until their algae hosts explode, spilling viruses into the surrounding seawater, where they can infect neighboring coral communities.
Zooxanthellae provide coral with food energy through photosynthesis and contribute to the organisms’ vibrant color. Without them, the coral “bleaches”—turns white—and dies.
"The algae that live in the coral tissue and feed these animals explode or are just released by the tissue, thus leaving naked the skeleton of the coral," said study leader Roberto Danovaro of the Polytechnic University of Marche in Italy.
The researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide, and that up to 10 percent of coral reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching.
Activated Viruses
Danovaro and his team studied the effects of sunscreen exposure on coral samples from reefs in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.
Even low levels of sunscreen, at or below the typical amount used by swimmers, could activate the algae viruses and completely bleach coral in just four days, the results showed.
Seawater surrounding coral exposed to sunscreen contained up to 15 times more viruses than unexposed samples.
Several brands of popular sunscreens were tested and all had four ingredients in common: paraben, cinnamate, benzophenone, and a camphor derivative.

Photo: Normal coral (left) exposed to ultraviolet filters found in sunscreen “bleaches” white (right) when the algae living inside it die.
Courtesy Department of Marine Science, Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy

SWIMMERS’ SUNSCREEN KILLING OFF CORAL

Ker Than / Nat Geo News

The sunscreen that you dutifully slather on before a swim on the beach may be protecting your body, but the chemicals are also killing coral reefs worldwide.

Four commonly found sunscreen ingredients can awaken dormant viruses in the symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae that live inside reef-building coral species.

The chemicals cause the viruses to replicate until their algae hosts explode, spilling viruses into the surrounding seawater, where they can infect neighboring coral communities.

Zooxanthellae provide coral with food energy through photosynthesis and contribute to the organisms’ vibrant color. Without them, the coral “bleaches”—turns white—and dies.

"The algae that live in the coral tissue and feed these animals explode or are just released by the tissue, thus leaving naked the skeleton of the coral," said study leader Roberto Danovaro of the Polytechnic University of Marche in Italy.

The researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide, and that up to 10 percent of coral reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching.

Activated Viruses

Danovaro and his team studied the effects of sunscreen exposure on coral samples from reefs in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.

Even low levels of sunscreen, at or below the typical amount used by swimmers, could activate the algae viruses and completely bleach coral in just four days, the results showed.

Seawater surrounding coral exposed to sunscreen contained up to 15 times more viruses than unexposed samples.

Several brands of popular sunscreens were tested and all had four ingredients in common: paraben, cinnamate, benzophenone, and a camphor derivative.

Photo: Normal coral (left) exposed to ultraviolet filters found in sunscreen “bleaches” white (right) when the algae living inside it die.

Courtesy Department of Marine Science, Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy

  1. burrit0-queen reblogged this from blacklionfish
  2. blacklionfish reblogged this from amongthenoise
  3. pumpkindemigod reblogged this from amongthenoise
  4. amongthenoise reblogged this from griseus
  5. nikokundesu reblogged this from griseus and added:
    White people fucking up the world at all times.
  6. jwilso reblogged this from griseus
  7. onlymarinepermitted reblogged this from griseus and added:
    This is pretty serious. Make sure to take this into consideration. Coral bleaching is most definitely nothing to joke...
  8. echinodarm reblogged this from griseus
  9. thelonelyblackgirl reblogged this from secretofthesea
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  16. iseulttoinjury reblogged this from griseus
  17. lehighideas reblogged this from cursinginchurch and added:
    Everything is interrelated. How will your engineering designs impact the environment and people around it?
  18. okerwin reblogged this from justkatethanks
  19. diakonisa reblogged this from dasie
  20. magnusrayne reblogged this from thestrawberrycupcakeimp
  21. gasmasquerade reblogged this from the-king-of-ponytails and added:
    :( But what do we do? I mean…I kind of need to wear sunscreen. Is there an alternative?
  22. fratricyte reblogged this from animalcrown
  23. sweetamor reblogged this from candiedbrown and added:
    I had to repost since I’m a biologist in training. Gotta loves da algae ❤
  24. candiedbrown reblogged this from animalcrown and added:
    Get it together
  25. tactlessmalcontent reblogged this from thebigblackwolfe
  26. wadinginastrawberryocean reblogged this from soradiesinkh3
  27. other-worlds reblogged this from jessicakex and added:
    Good thing I never wear it because ALL CHEMICALS FROM MAKEUP, HAIR DYE, ECT finds its way to the ocean.
  28. jessicakex reblogged this from brandef and added:
    This is awful!
  29. zazp reblogged this from griseus