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Marine virus outbreaks linked to coral bleaching

A study by biologists from Rice University and Oregon State University has found that significant outbreaks of marine viruses may be associated with coral bleaching events, especially as a result of multiple environmental stresses. The new findings document a viral outbreak that occurred as corals were bleaching — losing color as a byproduct of expelling symbiotic algae that live in the corals’ tissues — in part of the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia. Researchers who studied the reef found three viral groups, including a herpes-like virus, in the outbreak.

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