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An underwater coral photograph taken by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research geologist Curt Storlazzi in Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands, was chosen by Popular Photography magazine as its Photo of the Day for August 3, 2015.

The photo shows a wave breaking over a section of coral reef. A healthy coral reef can help prevent island erosion and flooding by reducing the energy of waves before they hit the shoreline. Storlazzi, of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, took the photo for a project he leads titled "Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls that House Department of Defense Installations."

Image: Coral reefs, Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands
Research geologist Curt Storlazzi took this underwater photograph of a wave breaking over a coral reef on May 5, 2014, on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. A healthy coral reef helps prevent erosion and flooding by reducing the energy of waves before they reach the shore. Storlazzi studies factors that affect coral reef health, including sea-level rise and projected impacts of climate change.

Popular Photography picked up the photo from the USGS Flickr website.

Learn more about how coral reefs protect coastlines in a Nature Communications paper co-authored by Storlazzi: "The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction and adaptation."

Learn more about the USGS Coral Reef Project.

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