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Plastic pollution is especially threatening to the health of coral reefs. Plastics can affect the feeding and cleaning mechanisms of certain stony corals. For cold-water corals, they can create physical barriers for corals that prevent corals from capturing food, thereby slowing their growth rates. Plastic pollution in coral reefs has also been associated with increased rates of disease. And, a new study published earlier this week suggests that some corals can even consume such high volumes of microplastics that the synthetic particles outnumber natural foodstuffs in the corals’ guts.