Academic journal article Science and Children

Study: Localized Efforts to Save Coral Reefs Won't Be Enough

Academic journal article Science and Children

Study: Localized Efforts to Save Coral Reefs Won't Be Enough

Article excerpt

A National Science Foundation study of factors that cause corals stress suggests that localized attempts to curb pollution on reefs won't save them without a worldwide effort to reduce global warming.

Ocean habitats are increasingly under human-caused stress in the forms of pollution and global warming. Coral reefs are found in less than 1% of the ocean but are home to nearly one-quarter of all known marine species. Reefs also help regulate the sea's carbon dioxide levels and are a crucial hunting ground that scientists use in the search for new medicines.

Corals are home to a complex composition of dinoflagellates, fungi, bacteria, and archaea that together make up the coral microbiome. Shifts in microbiome composition are connected to changes in coral health.

The study involved coral samples that were collected off the coast of Moorea, a South Pacific island that's part of French Polynesia. The corals examined in tank experiments by the scientists were Pocillopora meandrina, commonly known as cauliflower corals.

"We subjected the corals to three stressors: increased temperature, nutrient enrichment--meaning pollution --and manual scarring," says Rebecca Maher, lead author of the study. …

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