This photo provided by the University of Victoria shows dying Pocillopora or cauliflower coral. The coral on the sea floor around Kiritimati looked like a boneyard in November. (University of Victoria/Danielle Claar via AP)
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The coral on the sea floor around the Pacific island of Kiritimati looked like a boneyard in November – stark, white and lifeless.Algae has overtaken the lifeless coral on what had been some of the most pristine coral reefs on the planet, said University of Victoria coral reef scientist Julia Baum after dozens of dives in the past week.About 36 percent of the world's coral reefs – 72 percent of the U.S. reefs – are in such warm water they are under official death watch, and that could rise to up to 60 percent of the world's coral by July, said Mark Eakin, the coral reef watch coordinator for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.Baum has hope that something can survive because of what she calls "little miracle corals," the small amount of one particular species that seems to be surviving so far.Climate scientist Cobb said 7,000 years of coral fossils in Kiritimati don't show such a big die-off.
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