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
Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'
23.01.2018 | Rutgers University
Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant
23.01.2018 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy