Research by Brett Lewis and Dr Luke Nothdurft has for the first time shown people what happens when individual Heliofungia actiniformis corals bleach.
To simulate rising sea surface temperatures, researchers placed solitary corals into controlled aquaria, before heating the water.
Researchers recorded detailed time-lapse videos of a coral species’ physical reaction to heat stress, showing evidence for the first time that it employs pulsed inflation.
Mr Brett Lewis said the resulting videos show the unhappy corals belching Symbiodinium, tiny algae cells that live within coral tissue and give corals their vibrant colours.
View the ABC TV Catalyst episode about coral bleaching.