A Variegated Lizardfish (Synodus variegatus) rests upon sponges in St Crispin's Reef, Great Barrier Reef on Aug. 20, 2004. Wikimedia Commons / Richard Ling
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Australian authorities said Sunday coral bleaching occurring in the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef had become "severe," the highest alert level, as sea temperatures warm.Hunt said the government would fund a survey of 40 sites in the reef area, which had been investigated in 2012, in September to assess the health of corals and potential recovery options.It occurs when reef symbiosis – the mutually beneficial relationship between two organisms that inhabit corals – is disrupted by a rise in ocean warming, although there can also be other causes.
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