A particular group of marine bacteria is able to provide a large fraction of the nutrients needed for coral reef ecosystems to flourish. This is the striking result of a year-long study carried out at the Red Sea in Jordan by an international research team led by Prof. Dr. Christian Wild (Marine Ecology, University of Bremen). These findings have now been published in the prestigious journal “Ecosystems” by lead author Dr. Ulisse Cardini, who recently (3/2015) obtained his PhD at the University of Bremen.
An entire reef habitat examined
In their study, the group of scientists collected a large dataset of physiological measurements for all key photosynthetic organisms and their associated bacteria in a Red Sea fringing reef in Aqaba (Jordan) over the course of the entire year 2013.
After collecting the field data, researchers extrapolated their results to the entire reef habitat using complex geospatial analyses. By doing so, they demonstrated that a specific group of bacteria is able to provide important nutrients to the entire reef habitat.
This is particularly the case when the organisms’ need of nutrients is highest, because of the lack of alternative nutrient sources.
Additionally, the research team found that the activity of these “nutrient-providing” bacteria is highly susceptible to environmental changes, indicating that climate change and other human-driven impacts may affect their important role in coral reefs, with negative repercussions for the health of the whole reef ecosystem.
Why this is important for us all
These findings are remarkable, because they may explain how coral reef ecosystems are able to thrive in very nutrient poor tropical waters. By helping photosynthetic organisms to grow on coral reefs, these bacteria enable these highly diverse and productive ecosystems to flourish. This, eventually, allows coral reefs to provide all the ecosystem goods and services like tourism and food that make them so important to humans.
Our impact on the natural environment is growing stronger every day, and the loss of coral reefs worldwide is increasing dramatically. As such, the authors hope that the data reported in their study will be useful for planning and evaluating the effects of management on coral reef ecosystems, helping to protect these important habitats and the goods and services that they provide.
Cardini et al. Budget of primary production and dinitrogen fixation in a highly seasonal Red Sea coral reef. Ecosystems (in press)
Prof. Dr. Christian Wild
University of Bremen
Faculty Biology / Chemistry
Phone. 0421 218 63367
Dr. Ulisse Cardini
University of Vienna
Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science
Division of Microbial Ecology
Phone: +43 677 61633148
Eberhard Scholz | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology