Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Corals can reestablish symbiosis with algae from their environments after bleaching

04.06.2004


Research published in Science demonstrates potential resilience of corals


UB researchers, working with the Caribbean octocoral, Briareum sp., have found that corals can recover from bleaching (inset).
Credit: University at Buffalo



Corals can develop new symbiotic relationships with algae from their environments after they’ve undergone bleaching, the process by which corals whiten as a result of environmental stress, University at Buffalo biologists report in the current issue of Science.

The research provides evidence that corals may have multiple mechanisms that facilitate recovery from bleaching induced by environmental stresses.


Scientists have known that corals can recover from bleaching episodes, but they did not know why.

It has not been clear whether recovery resulted from the few remaining symbiotic algae, or algal symbionts, remaining within the coral tissue since early development, or if coral could acquire entirely new ones from their aquatic environments.

Corals survive and thrive because of the symbiotic relationship they develop with the single-celled algae called zooxanthellae (zo-zan-thel-y), which live inside them and help supply them with food.

But certain environmental stresses, such as high or low light or sea temperatures, can lead to a reduction in algal densities or loss of pigmentation, leaving the coral’s white skeleton visible through the clear tissue.

"Our data show that corals have the potential to take up new symbionts, providing a mechanism for resilience in the face of environmental change," said Mary-Alice Coffroth, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences, and senior author on the paper.

Coffroth and her co-author, Cynthia L. Lewis, who recently received her master’s degree in biological sciences from UB, induced bleaching in gorgonian soft corals (a type of sea rod common to Caribbean reefs) by keeping them in darkness in the laboratory.

After 12 weeks of darkness, cell densities of symbionts in the coral had plunged to less than one percent of their population density when the corals were healthy.

During the six weeks following ’bleaching,’ the corals were exposed to algal symbionts that were added to the aquarium water.

The researchers found that at the end of this period, symbiont cell densities within the coral showed a significant increase, demonstrating that the coral animals were able to establish symbiotic relationships with these new, or exogenous, algae.

"We found cell densities within the coral had increased between nine and 31 times the level measured immediately following the bleaching episode," said Lewis.

"The symbiosis had begun to reestablish itself," added Coffroth.

The UB researchers caution that the survival of individual colonies and populations of coral should not be construed as a demonstration that an entire ecosystem is healthy.

"Nevertheless, these data demonstrate that these animals may have the resilience to recover from bleaching episodes," said Coffroth.


The coral used in the research was harvested from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the laboratory work was conducted at the Keys Marine Laboratory in Long Key, Florida.

The work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB’s more than 27,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs.

Ellen Goldbaum | University at Buffalo
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu/news/fast-execute.cgi/article-page.html?article=67500009

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Marine oil snow
12.06.2019 | University of Delaware

nachricht Climate driving new right whale movement
29.05.2019 | Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

Im Focus: Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.

Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...

Im Focus: Cost-effective and individualized advanced electronic packaging in small batches now available

Fraunhofer IZM is joining the EUROPRACTICE IC Service platform. Together, the partners are making fan-out wafer level packaging (FOWLP) for electronic devices available and affordable even in small batches – and thus of interest to research institutes, universities, and SMEs. Costs can be significantly reduced by up to ten customers implementing individual fan-out wafer level packaging for their ICs or other components on a multi-project wafer. The target group includes any organization that does not produce in large quantities, but requires prototypes.

Research always means trying things out and daring to do new things. Research institutes, universities, and SMEs do not produce in large batches, but rather...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Concert of magnetic moments

14.06.2019 | Information Technology

Materials informatics reveals new class of super-hard alloys

14.06.2019 | Materials Sciences

New imaging modality targets cholesterol in arterial plaque

14.06.2019 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>