MessageToEagle.com

Corals That Survive In The Hottest Reefs On The Planet

1 February, 2013

Share this story:
Follow us:


MessageToEagle.com - Coral reefs are predicted to decline under the pressure of global warming. However, a number of coral species can survive at seawater temperatures even higher than predicted for the tropics during the next century.

How they survive, while most species cannot, is being investigated by researchers at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) and New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD).

We tend to associate coral reefs with tropical seas of around 28 degrees, where even slight warming can have devastating effects on corals. But in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, corals survive seawater temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius every summer, heat levels that would kill corals elsewhere.


Vibrant coral reefs harbor diverse communities of life in the tropical oceans. Like trees, corals produce annual rings that store a record of past conditions. Chemical analyses reveal details about past temperature, nutrient availability, salinity, and other information. Photograph courtesy NOAA Photo Library


In their study, the NOCS team worked closely with NYUAD researchers to select and characterise model corals from the Arabian/Persian Gulf, which will facilitate future molecular-scale investigations into why they can tolerate heat stress.

“We have established successful laboratory cultures of Gulf corals,” said Dr Jörg Wiedenmann, Head of the Coral Reef Laboratory and Senior Lecturer at University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science, both of which are based at NOCS.

“This will greatly accelerate the progress of unravelling the mechanisms that underlie their surprising heat resistance.”

Reefs are made up of many species of coral, each of which have a mutually beneficial, or “symbiotic”, relationship with algae living in their tissue. These algae supply vital nutrition to the host but are sensitive to environmental changes including increases in seawater temperature.

Even a temperature rise of just one degree Celsius can harm the symbiotic algae, which in turn can increase mortality in corals. The associated loss of symbiotic algae is known as “coral bleaching” because the white skeletons of the corals become visible through the tissue depleted from the algal pigments.

“In Gulf corals, both the coral host and the associated algal partners need to withstand the high seawater temperatures,” said Dr Wiedenmann who led the study.

But the scientists were surprised to discover that the algae in Gulf corals belong to a group not known for its thermal tolerance.



“We see that the algae are indeed special but in a way that we did not expect,” said Dr Wiedenmann. “The algae that we found in most of the corals in Abu Dhabi reefs were previously described as a ‘generalist strain’ that is usually not found in corals exposed to high levels of heat stress.”

“The system seems to be more complex than it is commonly thought but now we are in an excellent position to tackle these important questions.”

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has recently granted funding to Dr Wiedenmann and the Coral Reef Laboratory, so that the team can do just that. The researchers will build on their previous findings and use their model corals to investigate the molecular mechanisms that allow corals to thrive at extreme temperatures.

Already around 30 per cent of coral reefs are severely damaged and more than half of coral reefs worldwide may be lost within the near future because of global warming. A better understanding of how corals respond to rising sea temperatures is important for predicting the fate of coral reefs and to optimise reef conservation.

“Gulf corals are living at the limit of their tolerance,” said co-author Professor John Burt from the New York University Abu Dhabi. “We have observed an increased frequency of coral bleaching events in this area, and we need to act now to protect and understand these ecosystems that hold the answers to many important climate change related questions.”

© MessageToEagle.com

See also:
These Plants Sense The Danger - They Know How To Avoid Predators!

Follow MessageToEagle.com for the latest news on Facebook and Twitter !

Don't Miss Our Stories! Get Our Daily Email Newsletter

Enter your email address:


Once you have confirmed your email address, you will be subscribed to the newsletter.

Recommend this article:

Astronomers Use The Z Machine To Create White Dwarfs In The Desert On Earth
Astronomers have discovered an exciting way to use the Z machine to create "star stuff" that can solve many astronomical mysteries. Scientists hope gained knowledge will shed more light on the archaeological history of...


Moths - Masters Of Disguise

Subscribe To Our Space, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Earth and Xenology News!

Grab the latest RSS feeds right to your reader, desktop or mobile phone.

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner

Go to - MAIN PAGE

Copyright © MessageToEagle.com All rights reserved.
Go to - MAIN PAGE


Advertise With Us!

Submissions

 Subscribe in a reader

Join Us On Facebook!

Other Popular Articles

Tractor Beams Of Light - No Longer Pure Science Fiction!
Science fiction meets real science! "Tractor beams" - fascinating invisible beams that can push and pull objects, leave science fiction domain. The concept of "tractor beam" used in science fiction films and books to haul spaceships and capture floating capsules gains scientific attention.


They Produce Water From The Air! An Amazing Invention For Those Who Really Need It!

"How can we help someone so powerful they can create water out of thin air?" an astonished Jabin yells in Star Trek's Caretaker. If you are a Star Trek fan you will remember how the Kazons try to aquire technology that can create water our of thin air. This technology is no longer in the realms of science fiction. Today we can really create water out of thin air!


Star Trek Tricorder - Now Available Online For Anyone To Build!

Imagine you can see what cannot be seen. Wouldn't you want to actually be able to see beyond the visible? The good news is that from now on it will be possible to see things we have previously only dreamt of. We certainly live in exciting times. More and more devices that have long been considered pure science fiction are now quickly becoming reality.


Do We Live In A Computer Simulation Created By An Advanced Alien Civilization?

The captivating idea that we might be living in 3 dimensional holographic simulation has been put forward by various scientists. We will explore this mind-boggling idea further and examine some intriguing questions. If we suspect that we are programmed beings living inside a simulation is there any way for us to find out if this is true? Is it possible to change the outcome of this virtual game? Who could have created this matrix and for what reason?


Spying On People Inside Building Through The Walls

Now, spying on people at home through the walls is easy. Also find out what's going on behind closed doors - it's nothing particularly difficult. They will even know whether you're sitting or standing!


Biometrics: Eye-Scanners Can Be Fooled

Iris scanning technologies allow people to use their eyes to prove their identify. S canning your iris has been considered a very good security tool, but now it turns out it is actually possible to fool eye-scanners!


European Physicists Break Quantum Teleportation Record!

Teleportation experiments represent a crucial step toward future quantum networks in space, which require space to ground quantum communication. A few weeks ago, the Chinese physicists achieved a great progress by teleporting more than 1100 photons over a distance of 97 kilometres in only four hours, but the teleportation competition still continues...


Incredible Crystal Star City Hovering In The Air - It Looks Just Like An Alien Invasion

Imagine it's late in the evening and you go out for a walk to get some fresh air. Suddenly when you look up to gaze at the night sky, you are stunned to see a huge, crystal star city hovering above your head. What is happening, you ask yourself as you watch the city that is home to thousands of individuals.


Levitating Ball Defies Gravity - Incredible Technology Of The Future

Acccording to recent survey, a huge active fault was found under Mount Fuji, standing at 3,776 meters (12,385 feet) above sea level. The dangerous fault can trigger a magnitude-7 earthquake, close to a volcano, changing the shape of the mountain and destroying nearby communities...


A Future Journey To High Heavens - A Vision Of Tomorrow's Reality

Once upon a time, the biblical patriarch Jacob had a dream of a ladder leading to heaven, and angels ascending and descending on it.
We, modern human, also have a dream to come closer to high heavens and the idea of a space elevator is not a new one...

Artificial Intelligence: Super-Turing Machine Imitates Human Brain
As computer scientists this year celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the mathematical genius Alan Turing, who set out the basis for digital computing in the 1930s to anticipate the electronic age, they still quest after a machine as adaptable and intelligent as the human brain.

A Milestone Towards Future Satellite-Based Quantum Teleportation Achieved But Race Still Continues!
Teleportation experiments represent a crucial step toward future quantum networks in space, which require space to ground quantum communication. Physicists achieved a great progress by teleporting more than 1100 photons...

Technology:


Space-Time Crystal Computer That Can Outlive Even The Universe Itself!

World’s Thinnest Screen Created From A Soap Bubble

Brilliant Idea: Scientists Create Toilet Which Turns Poo Into Electricity

Most Important Innovations In The Next Five Years - From IBM

Visit The Most Extreme Soundless Place On Earth

Amazing Technology: Bio-Powered Lamp Absorbing CO2

W3Counter