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After the oil spill: New research sheds light on coral susceptibility to environmental stress
Date:6/1/2010

ase and susceptibility to by analyzing the data on the activity of innate immunity in conjunction with published data on coral species' susceptibilities to oxidative bleaching and disease. Results suggest that different coral species invest different amounts of resources in immunity and defense, which may explain differences in the susceptibility to negative environmental impacts.

"You don't have to be a marine biologist to know that the Gulf oil spill is an environmental disaster of the first order. Stuff leaching from the ocean floor is the worst environmental challenge a coral reef can face," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. "But with luck, and with marine biology to explain how coral reefs survive, we can begin to get the Gulf ecosystems back on track sooner rather than later."

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "Corals that are spawning at the time of an oil spill can be damaged because the eggs and sperm, which are released into the water at very precise times, remain at shallow water depths for various times before they settle. Thus, in addition to compromising water quality, oil pollution can disrupt the long-term viability and reproductive success of corals, rendering them more vulnerable to other types of disturbances. In western Australia and the Flower Garden Banks of the northern Gulf of Mexico, spawning occurs in late summer or fall."


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Contact: Cody Mooneyhan
cmooneyhan@faseb.org
301-634-7104
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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