Healthy corals naturally exude a surrounding mucous layer in which a complex population of bacteria exists. Recent studies have indicated that some coral diseases may be linked to community shifts in this bacterial population.
In experiments with a common reef building coral in the Florida Keys, Chris Shank of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute and Kim Ritchie of Mote Marine Laboratory found an obvious shift in the composition of the coral bacterial community resulting from changes in the pool of surrounding dissolved organic matter.
Dissolved organic matter in the water column near Florida Keys coral reefs comes from a variety of natural sources, including coastal mangroves, seagrasses, and plankton, as well as man-made sources, including sewage effluent. The composition of dissolved organic matter surrounding Florida Keys coral reefs has likely changed in recent decades due to growing coastal populations.
“When coastal ecosystems are physically altered, the natural flow of dissolved organic material to nearby coral ecosystems is disrupted with potentially harmful consequences for the corals,” said Shank, assistant professor of marine science.
Shank and Ritchie, manager of the Marine Microbiology Program at Mote, placed Montastraea faveolata coral fragments in aquaria filled with water collected from either Florida Bay or from an offshore bluewater site.
Dissolved organic matter concentrations are much greater in Florida Bay than in offshore waters and typically have different chemical characteristics. Water collected from these distinct locations used for the coral incubation experiments represented the variable nature of dissolved organic matter experienced by corals in the middle and lower Florida Keys.
They found that the microbial community of healthy corals shifts measurably when exposed to water from Florida Bay, suggesting the microbes that normally play a role in coral immunity may be out-competed by potentially problematic bacteria. In combination with increased water temperatures, this is an example of the type of compounded stressors known to cause health problems in corals, or “reef deterioration.”
The scientists reported their results today at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
The scientists’ research is part of their larger effort to investigate the link between alterations to the south Florida ecosystem and Florida Keys coral ecosystems. Coral reefs there, as with coral reefs around the world, are increasingly threatened by rising water temperatures, advancing ocean acidification and rapidly rising coastal populations.
Corals are especially susceptible to coastal alterations because they commonly exist in shallow waters at the interface of land and sea.
Shank and Ritchie are planning a series of experiments to more closely evaluate the chemical nature of the water column dissolved organic matter surrounding the corals in the Florida Keys and identify shifts in potentially harmful bacterial populations.
Chris Shank | EurekAlert!
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy