May 7, 2007

Science Magazine: A World Without Corals

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KHURA BURI, THAILAND—In the shallow waters off Lan Island in the Andaman Sea, Kim Obermeyer kicks his flippers and glides over a silent graveyard. Scattered below are shards of staghorn and other branching corals, shattered in fragments that look like detached finger bones. The conservation biologist swims farther out to sea, darts to the bottom, and peers under an overturned Porites coral head the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Obermeyer points to a brown ribbon underneath: a ragged colony soaking up just enough sun to have survived the tsunami that struck on 26 December 2004.

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