Pacific Science Center

Bringing science to life.

PacSci-Doku: “Coral Reef Killer”

By Dennis Schatz – Senior Advisor

Do you Sudoku? It’s one of the hottest number games around! Well, here’s a twist we think you’ll love. We call it PacSci-Doku. Can you guess why? Here’s how it works. Instead of filling in the blanks with numbers, we use letters. Hidden in one of the columns or rows is the answer to a science question. You’ll find information about the answer on the answer tab below.

The question in this edition is:

What is an unexpected killer of coral reefs?

To find the answer, complete this PacSci-Doku using the following nine letters:

E  e  U  N  n  S  s  c  r

PacSci-Doku: "Coral Reef Killer"

Puzzle Difficulty: Easy

The Answer

PacSci-Doku: "Coral Reef Killer"

The question in this edition is:

What is an unexpected killer of coral reefs?

The answer: Sunscreen

Just a single drop of sunscreen, with its coral killing chemical oxybenzone, in the equivalent of six Olympic-sized swimming pools can rob coral of critical nutrients and bleach it white. Of course the ocean is much larger than six swimming pools, but then the number of people slathered with sunscreen is large and contain many drops of sunscreen.

The damage is not just due to people who swim in the ocean. Consider how many people cover themselves in sunscreen to play in the park, attend a ball game or go for a run. When all these people shower, the chemicals get washed down the drain and in many places end in the sewer outflows that reach the ocean.

Learn more about how sunscreen is killing coral reefs.

 

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