Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ocean Sampling Yields Environmental Sources Of Coral Symbionts

Date:
December 5, 2006
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
By sampling different ocean locations for the presence of an elusive but critical group of algae, researchers have gained new insight into the dwelling places of the symbiotic organisms that reef corals need for survival.

By sampling different ocean locations for the presence of an elusive but critical group of algae, researchers have gained new insight into the dwelling places of the symbiotic organisms that reef corals need for survival.

The symbiosis between special algal species and reef corals is the foundation of a highly productive and biologically complex ecosystem, but our understanding of how this symbiosis is established by new corals has been limited by the fact that the symbiotic algae are difficult to find and study in the ocean. But now a group of researchers has successfully identified algae of the genus known to represent coral symbionts, and has gone on to show that the isolated algae are indeed capable of establishing symbioses with new corals. The findings, which potentially bolster future efforts to protect and rehabilitate coral reefs, are reported by a group including Mary Alice Coffroth of the University at Buffalo and appear in the December 5th issue of Current Biology.

In response to environmental stresses, coral reefs around the world are in a decline due in large part to coral bleaching--loss of the symbiotic photosynthetic algae that live within corals and provide much of their energy. These symbiotic algae are essential to their host's survival, but many corals must acquire their symbionts anew with the emergence of each generation. However, it has remained unclear how newly settled coral polyps acquire their symbionts in the ocean. Organisms that resemble coral symbionts--dinoflagellates that are similar to those of the Symbiodinium genus that grow within corals--have been isolated from both sand and the water column; however, neither the locations of these populations nor their ability to establish symbioses is known. For both our understanding of reef ecosystems and their conservation, it is critical to recognize where these symbionts reside in the ocean environment.

In the new work, the researchers succeeded in identifying Symbiodinium in the water column as well as on ocean-bottom substrates. Most importantly, the researchers also demonstrated that a subset of Symbiodinium found in the water and on benthic substrates (that is, on algae and sediments) can infect new coral polyps. These isolates are therefore capable of establishing symbioses with corals and thus point to environmental sources of symbionts that may prove important in the recovery of reef-building corals after bleaching events.

The researchers include Mary Alice Coffroth of University at Buffalo in Buffalo, NY; Cynthia F. Lewis of Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission in Marathon, FL; Scott R. Santos of Auburn University in Auburn, AL; Jessica L. Weaver of University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, IN.

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (M.A.C.)

Coffroth et al.: "Environmental populations of symbiotic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium can initiate symbioses with reef cnidarians." Publishing in Current Biology 16, R985-987, December 5, 2006 DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2006.10.049. http://www.current-biology.com


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Ocean Sampling Yields Environmental Sources Of Coral Symbionts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061204123540.htm>.
Cell Press. (2006, December 5). Ocean Sampling Yields Environmental Sources Of Coral Symbionts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061204123540.htm
Cell Press. "Ocean Sampling Yields Environmental Sources Of Coral Symbionts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061204123540.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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