coral reef

07/09/2014 - 05:36

The future health of the world’s coral reefs and the animals that depend on them relies in part on the ability of one tiny symbiotic sea creature to get fat—and to be flexible about the type of algae it cooperates with. In the first study of its kind, scientists at The Ohio State University discovered that corals—tiny reef-forming animals that live symbiotically with algae—are better able to recover from yearly bouts of heat stress, called “bleaching,” when they keep large energy reserves—mostly as fat—socked away in their cells.

 

12/12/2013 - 09:34

Coral reefs, the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world’s oceans, provide safe harbor for fish and organisms of many sizes that make homes among the branches, nooks, and crannies of the treelike coral. But reefs — even the well-protected Great Barrier Reef off the coast of northeastern Australia — are declining because of disease and bleaching, conditions exacerbated by rising ocean temperatures.

 

04/29/2012 - 22:17

Scientists have predicted that ocean temperatures will rise in the equatorial Pacific by the end of the century, wreaking havoc on coral reef ecosystems. But a new study shows that climate change could cause ocean currents to operate in a surprising way and mitigate the warming near a handful of islands right on the equator. As a result these Pacific islands may become isolated refuges for corals and fish.

03/28/2012 - 10:15

As corals continue to decline in abundance around the world, researchers are turning their attention to a possible cause that’s almost totally unexplored – viral disease. It appears the corals that form such important parts of marine ecosystems harbor many different viruses – particularly herpes. And although they don’t get runny noses or stomach upset, corals also are home to the adenoviruses and other viral families that can cause human colds and gastrointestinal disease.

03/28/2012 - 00:00

Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology along with Australian colleagues, have examined corals from the Great Barrier Reef affected by the Black Band Disease and identified the critical parameters that allow this prevalent disease to cause wide mortality of corals around the world. Corals infected with Black Band show a characteristic appearance of healthy tissue displaced by a dark front, the so called Black Band, which leaves the white limestone skeleton of the coral animal exposed.

12/23/2011 - 00:29

Coral reefs are extremely diverse ecosystems that support enormous biodiversity. But they are at risk. Carbon dioxide emissions are acidifying the ocean, threatening reefs and other marine organisms. New research led by Carnegie’s Kenneth Schneider analyzed the role of sea cucumbers in portions of the Great Barrier Reef and determined that their  dietary process of dissolving calcium carbonate (CaCO3) from the surrounding reef accounts for about half of at the total nighttime dissolution for the reef. The work is published December 23 by the Journal of Geophysical Research.