Coral reef bleaching is the loss of intracellular endosymbionts through either expulsion or loss of algal pigmentation. Zooxanthella is what gives coral reefs their apparent color. When bleaching takes place, the zooxanthellae is expelled by the reef, which makes the reef look white, like it has been bleached. Bleaching occurs when the coral reef feels as if it "under stress", the most common "stress" a coral can face is the rising of the water temperature although, there are a number of biotic and abiotic factors which can inflict "stress" upon the corals. Stress can occur when the oceans temperature rises even just one degree higher than the average. Coral bleaching is a serious threat to marine life that results in damage to the coral reefs. .
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), has conducted many different types of research to investigate the causes, preventions, damages, and impact that coral bleaching can cause. The NOAA has been monitoring for bleaching "hot spots", to find places in the oceans where the temperature rises. In 1992 there was a study conducted by artificial intelligence to mock the process of coral bleaching so scientist could further study this. These investigations have come to the conclusions that bleaching can occur from very high water temperatures only, very high temperatures with very low winds and, very high temperatures, low winds, and drastically low tides combined. CLIPS (C Language integrated productions systems), put together a three stage system to evaluate the process of the bleaching. During the first stage data is received which contains monitored water temperatures, wind speeds, salinity, wind gusts, wind durations, pressure, radiation, depth and, water level. After a long enough period of time to be able to come up with a mean of data that would be testable, then the recorded data that has been retrieved is tested for anything that may seem abnormal.