This is what it looks like when a piece of coral dies.

GIF via Netflix/Exposure Labs/YouTube, from the film "Chasing Coral."

This is a phenomenon known as coral bleaching, now captured in the award-winning documentary "Chasing Coral." To get these impressive shots, a team of photographers, divers, and scientists traveled the world to capture time-lapse photographs of coral bleaching events.

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Heroes

Coral reefs support about a quarter of all life in the ocean.

Diving through one, you can see oodles of different, brightly colored inhabitants, from delicate butterflyfish and snapping shrimp to massive sharks and octopi. Reefs are some of our best fishing grounds, tourist attractions, and natural defenses against storm surges.

With all that coral reefs give, it seems like a tragedy to see what we're giving back to them.

We overfish our reefs, break them with anchors and trawlers — even use cyanide and dynamite on them. What's worse, climate change and the warmer weather it brings can cause massive bleaching episodes, which can be fatal to the coral.

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Heroes

Creepy? Yes. Beautiful, too. These underwater statues may help save our coral reefs.

Behold, the artistry created by man and the sea in tandem!

English-Guyanese artist Jason deCaires Taylor is doing his part to save the reefs with these incredible underwater sculptures.

The Phoenix. Image via "The Underwater Museum" by Jason deCaires Taylor/Chronicle Books, used with permission.

Due to climate change and overfishing, 20% of coral reefs worldwide have disappeared in the last 30 years. An estimated 75% of what's left of them is endangered. It's a scary thought, especially considering that marine and human life rely on these reefs that are home to over 1 million aquatic species, help protect our coasts from storm damage, and sustain millions of jobs around the world.

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