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
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy