Overheated reefs are caught in a vicious carbon cycle

Ohad Peleg spent his childhood snorkeling among lush seaweed forests in the cool Mediterranean Sea off the Israeli coast. When he dives there today, though, he sees a barren seascape overrun by tropical invaders, from seaweed-eating rabbitfish to plumes of red calcifying algae. This is tropicalization in action. The phenomenon, in which flora and fauna from warm climates move into cooler regions that have endured heatwaves, is exemplified by tropical sea urchins decimating kelp forests in Tasmania and coral reef fish finding a permanent home in southern Japan.

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