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Paleo Slide Set: Coral Paleoclimatology
Colonies of Pavona clavus and branching coral Pocillopora robusta, Baja California
Once they've sailed to their desired destination, scientists anchor their boat. Now, after months of preparation, comes the fun part. Donning wet suits and scuba tanks, they dive into the shallow reef waters. Once they've descended a few feet, their eyes meet with wonderful scenes such as this. Corals stretch as far as the eye can see. Some, like the branching coral Pocillopora robusta that you see in the sides of this photo, are beautiful but not particularly useful for paleoclimatic research. Others, like the massive coral Pavona clavus that dominates this picture, are perfect: big, easily cored, and sometimes hundreds of years old, ancient enough to produce a long and interesting climatic record.

Photo Credits:
Jerry Wellington
Department of Biology, University of Houston
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Last Modified: 12 October 2001

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