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Waterway and Maritime Transportation
Off Channel Islands, scientists explore coral — and our oceans' future
Off Channel Islands, scientists explore coral — and our oceans' future

Five hundred feet beneath the ocean's surface, a robotic submarine is bumping into a grove of bone-white coral in the waters off the Channel Islands. The robot — the size of two ovens placed back to back — has been sent to an underwater rocky ridge between Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands to collect samples of stony corals living, unexpectedly, in an acidifying ocean. A team of deep-sea scientists and engineers watches live footage of the collision on a suite of computer screens aboard the Bell M. Shimada research ship. As the brittle branches of the coral colony tumble to the ocean floor, the group lets out a collective, "Oh!" But the bump was deliberate. ...

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