Bleaching, It’s Not Just for Corals – Hakai Magazine

Giant Clam (by Silke Baron CC BY 2.0 via Flickr)

Giant clams suffer similar struggles with warming water, though the consequences don’t seem quite as dire.

Bleaching occurs when a stressed marine creature, most commonly a coral, expels its symbiotic algae and turns a ghostly white, often in response to a warming sea. But bleaching affects more than just corals. Giant clams—massive mollusks that can grow more than 1.2 meters in diameter and weigh as much as 225 kilograms—can bleach, too. And in recent research, scientists have learned more about how bleaching disrupts these sessile giants, affecting everything from their nutrition to their reproduction…