The symbiosis between special algal species and reef corals is the foundation of a highly productive and biologically complex ecosystem, but our understanding of how this symbiosis is established by new corals has been limited by the fact that the symbiotic algae are difficult to find and study in the ocean.
But now a group of researchers has successfully identified algae of the genus known to represent coral symbionts, and has gone on to show that the isolated algae are indeed capable of establishing symbioses with new corals. The findings, which potentially bolster future efforts to protect and rehabilitate coral reefs, are reported by a group including Mary Alice Coffroth of the University at Buffalo and appear in the December 5th issue of Current Biology.
In response to environmental stresses, coral reefs around the world are in a decline due in large part to coral bleaching—loss of the symbiotic photosynthetic algae that live within corals and provide much of their energy. These symbiotic algae are essential to their host’s survival, but many corals must acquire their symbionts anew with the emergence of each generation. However, it has remained unclear how newly settled coral polyps acquire their symbionts in the ocean.
Organisms that resemble coral symbionts—dinoflagellates that are similar to those of the Symbiodinium genus that grow within corals—have been isolated from both sand and the water column; however, neither the locations of these populations nor their ability to establish symbioses is known. For both our understanding of reef ecosystems and their conservation, it is critical to recognize where these symbionts reside in the ocean environment.
In the new work, the researchers succeeded in identifying Symbiodinium in the water column as well as on ocean-bottom substrates. Most importantly, the researchers also demonstrated that a subset of Symbiodinium found in the water and on benthic substrates (that is, on algae and sediments) can infect new coral polyps. These isolates are therefore capable of establishing symbioses with corals and thus point to environmental sources of symbionts that may prove important in the recovery of reef-building corals after bleaching events.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
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Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
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Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
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