Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study shows dietary supplements are good for coral health

05.05.2015

UM Rosenstiel School researchers found coral species can buffer the effects of climate change by increasing feeding during stressful environmental conditions

UM Rosenstiel School researchers found coral species can buffer the effects of climate change by increasing feeding during stressful environmental conditions


Most people know the health benefits of taking daily supplements, but what about endangered corals? A new study led by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers found that the critically endangered Staghorn coral may benefit from supplemental nutrition to mitigate the adverse impacts of global climate change.

Credit: Infographic created by University of Miami students of the Applied Visual Science Lab (AVSL), Christine deSylva, Kelly Martin, Leslie Thompson, Ye Wang, and Yiran Zhu.

MIAMI - Most people know the health benefits of taking daily supplements, but what about endangered corals? A new study led by University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers found that the critically endangered Staghorn coral may benefit from supplemental nutrition to mitigate the adverse impacts of global climate change. The results are the first to document that an endangered coral species, which was once found widely throughout South Florida and the Caribbean, can buffer the effects of increased CO2 in the ocean by increasing feeding rates.

"Our study shows a pathway to resilience previous unknown for this particular species, which was once a dominant species in South Florida," said UM Rosenstiel School Ph.D. student Erica Towle, lead author of the study. "This has implications for how we care for and where we out-plant Staghorn corals back onto reefs to give them the best chance for resilience possible in the future."

The research team separated eight genetically diverse colonies of Staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, into two groups - fed or unfed - and exposed them to elevated temperatures (30°C), a level just below the mean bleaching threshold in the Florida Keys, increased carbon dioxide concentrations (800 ppm), the CO2 levels predicted for 2065, or both (30°C/800 ppm), for eight weeks. The "fed" group was given a supplemental diet of dried zooplankton powder twice a week.

The researchers then analyzed the feeding rate of both groups by measured the amount of prey, a live rotifer species Brachionus plicatilis, each coral captured per hour and lipid content, an indicator ofenergy storage.

They found that the fed corals were able to maintain normal growth rates at both elevated temperature and elevated CO2, while unfed corals experienced significant decreases in growth compared to their fed counterparts. The results revealed that temperature, CO2 and feeding each had significant effects on the coral's growth rate.

"For many years we have known the some types of symbiotic algae can convey climate change resilience to corals," said co-author Chris Langdon, UM Rosenstiel School professor and chair of marine biology and ecology. "This study shows that behavioral and possibly physiological differences in the animal, which is half of the coral-algal symbiosis, can also convey resilience and not just to climate change but also to ocean acidification."

Caribbean coral reefs are in severe decline due to global climate changes, including increasing temperatures and CO2 concentrations, as a result of increased fossil fuel burning. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean water, causing a decline in the pH of seawater, a condition known as ocean acidification.

"In this study we found that the threatened coral, Acropora cervicornis, was able to increase its feeding rate and stored energy reserves when exposed to high CO2 conditions at 26°C or 30°C and mitigate reductions in calcification that caused significant decreases in growth rate in unfed corals," according to the authors.

Only two percent of the Staghorn coral population remains in the Florida Reef Tract, so this is really one of the few 'good news' stories we've had recently about corals and climate change," said Towle.

###

The study, titled "Threatened Caribbean coral is able to mitigate the adverse effects of ocean acidification on calcification by increasing feeding rate," was published in the April 15th issue of the journal PLOS ONE. The paper's co-authors include: Erica K. Towle and Chris Langdon of the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and Ian C. Enochs of NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories in Miami.

Funding for this study was supported by MOTE Marine Laboratories "Protect Our Reefs" Grant (#POR-2012-22) to EKT and by the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (#12054710) to EKT. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Video Abstract can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/XCOlOVq2XIc.

About the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University's mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940's, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit: http://www.rsmas.miami.edu.

Diana Udel | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht How is climate change affecting fauna in the Arctic?
22.05.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Sea level as a metronome of Earth's history
19.05.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>