| || The waters around Indonesia contain 18 percent of the planet’s coral. Australia has 17 percent, and the Philippines 9 percent. French overseas departments have 5 percent—that is, 5,512 square miles (14,280 square kilometers) of coral formations like those carpeting the seabed in the clear waters of the Polynesian archipelago in the Paciﬁc Ocean, above which this catamaran appears to be ﬂying. Tiny algae live in symbiosis with coral and stimulate its calciﬁcation. However, coral remains shrouded in mystery, for although the organisms that produce it are known, the mechanisms involved are not. There are local solutions to most of the threats that face coral, such as pollution, damage, and silting; the challenge is to put them into practice. However, the growing concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere may lead to alteration of the chemical balance of seawater, which at present allows the coral skeleton to form. Having adapted to a 393-foot (120-meter) rise in sea level with the end of the Ice Age 15,000 years ago, will coral be able to cope with these new changes?
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