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Ecosystems

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dwarf pines

BARREN TREES  Modern dwarf pines (shown) become unable to reproduce when irradiated by ultraviolet-B lamps. A similar fate may have befallen forests 252 million years ago, when massive bursts of volcanic gases likely weakened Earth’s ozone shield.

algal bloom

FEELING GREEN  Freshwater bodies on more than a third of Earth’s land area (excluding Antarctica) are maxed out on phosphorus, which can help create algal blooms such as this one.

sick corals

DON’T DO IT  A plastic-based, polyester towel is caught on diseased corals, which have turned white. Known to harbor pathogenic bacteria, plastic is increasing the risk of disease at scores of reefs.

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