Front PAGE for good reason:Kim Cobb a marine scientist at GIT expected the coral to be damaged when she plunged into the deep blue waters of a remote atoll near the center of the Pacific. She was stunned by what she saw:. “The entire reef is covered with a red-brown fuzz ” Dr. Cobb said when she returned to the surface after her recent dive. “It is otherworldly and devastating ' The damage off Kiritimati is part of mass bleaching of coral reefs around the world possibly the worst ever. Coral reefs are the crucial incubators of the ocean’s ecosystem providing food and shelter to a quarter of all marine species and they support fish stocks that feed more than one billion people. “This is a huge, looming planetary crisis, and we are sticking our heads in the sand about it,” said Justin Marshall, the director of CoralWatch at Australia’s University of Queensland.