University of Central Florida biologist John Fauth, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists and non-governmental agencies are studying the threatened Elkhorn Coral in the Vega Baja area of Puerto Rico.
While most of the area appears healthy, some coral are suffering from algal overgrowth and disease – problems similar to those the oil spill could cause off the coast of Florida. Sediment from a nearby construction site and runoff from storm sewers are potential causes for the harm to coral off Puerto Rico's coast.
Fauth says that the same techniques the team used to study the health of the reefs in Vega Baja will be used to determine the impact of the oil spill in the Gulf.
Scientists collect multiple samples that provide information about the enzymes present and the chemical signature of contaminants found within the coral. Scientists then can determine if there is damage to the coral's cells and analyze sediment samples to learn what contaminants are present on the sea floor.
"Our site provides an ideal case study for an environmental assessment that pinpoints probable stressors for coral and determines their source," Fauth said.
The process is time consuming, and each dive includes a long regimen to ensure researchers don't add to the problem.
"Before sampling, our team showered with laboratory soap and did not use any personal care products -- for example, sunscreen -- that could show up in contaminant analyses," Fauth said. "We also cleaned all of our dive gear with lab soap."
It's a comprehensive approach that researchers in the Gulf will likely duplicate as they search for answers, Fauth said.
The cross-disciplinary team included researchers from NOAA, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the universities of Central Florida and Puerto Rico, Haereticus Environmental Lab, and Grupo V.I.D.A.S. (Vegabajeños Impulsando Desarrollo Ambiental Sustentable).
UCF Stands For Opportunity --The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 3rd largest in the nation with 56,000 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy.
Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala | EurekAlert!
Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung
Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering