Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Says Bleaching Could Be A Hidden Strength For Corals

Date:
June 27, 2001
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
The global phenomenon of bleaching, in which reef-building corals lose their colorful algae and become white during times of stress, may actually allow some corals to adapt to global warming and other environmental change. The study, conducted by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), will be published in the June 14th issue of the journal Nature.

The global phenomenon of bleaching, in which reef-building corals lose their colorful algae and become white during times of stress, may actually allow some corals to adapt to global warming and other environmental change. The study, conducted by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), will be published in the June 14th issue of the journal Nature.

Related Articles


The study counters conventional wisdom that bleaching is universally detrimental, instead suggesting that it represents a high-risk ecological strategy that allows corals to rid themselves of sub-optimal algae. By doing so, corals can become hosts to more suitable algal types that increase their chances of survival during times of stress.

Reef-building corals use different types of symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae for nutrients, which in turn live in the tissue of the coral polyps. Baker transplanted corals found off the coast of Panama from shallow water to deep water, and visa versa. He discovered that corals transplanted upwards generally bleached but ultimately survived by recovering with new algae.

In contrast, corals transplanted downwards did not bleach, and did not change their type of algae, though it was poorly adapted to the deeper environment. As a result, a significant number of these corals died.

"These findings indicate that bleaching can sometimes help corals respond quickly to environmental change," said the study's author, Dr. Andrew Baker of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences. "The same bleaching that makes corals so fragile may also, during times of extreme environmental stress, help some of them survive."

Baker was quick to point out that bleaching, particularly as a result of warmer sea temperatures in recent years, is still a major cause for concern, and will continue to cause high mortality among reef ecosystems in the foreseeable future.

"These findings do provide a glimmer of hope for the ability of coral reefs to survive the severe warming and environmental change projected over the next half century." Baker said. "However, Coral reefs are still under assault from global warming, poor water quality, and overfishing. Much more needs to be done to protect and understand these fragile ecosystems before we lose the ones we have left."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Study Says Bleaching Could Be A Hidden Strength For Corals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/06/010614064239.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2001, June 27). Study Says Bleaching Could Be A Hidden Strength For Corals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/06/010614064239.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Study Says Bleaching Could Be A Hidden Strength For Corals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/06/010614064239.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) A scuba diving Santa Claus explored the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Dive shop owner Spencer Slate makes the dive each year to help raise money for charity. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins