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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

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  1. sexconoisseur ha reblogueado esto desde secretofthesea
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  6. benjaminthecoathanger ha reblogueado esto desde nofasciststate
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  9. lehighideas ha reblogueado esto desde cursinginchurch y ha añadido:
    Everything is interrelated. How will your engineering designs impact the environment and people around it?
  10. attack-on-erwins-butt ha reblogueado esto desde justkatethanks
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  12. onlyone-greywaren ha reblogueado esto desde thestrawberrycupcakeimp
  13. gasmasquerade ha reblogueado esto desde the-king-of-ponytails y ha añadido:
    :( But what do we do? I mean…I kind of need to wear sunscreen. Is there an alternative?
  14. aqqreqate ha reblogueado esto desde animalcrown
  15. sweetamor ha reblogueado esto desde candiedbrown y ha añadido:
    I had to repost since I’m a biologist in training. Gotta loves da algae ❤
  16. candiedbrown ha reblogueado esto desde animalcrown y ha añadido:
    Get it together
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  19. ptrcls ha reblogueado esto desde qiowdeactivated
  20. other-worlds ha reblogueado esto desde jessicakex y ha añadido:
    Good thing I never wear it because ALL CHEMICALS FROM MAKEUP, HAIR DYE, ECT finds its way to the ocean.
  21. jessicakex ha reblogueado esto desde brandef y ha añadido:
    This is awful!
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