Navigation Links
How corals fight back
Date:8/18/2010

Australian researchers are a step closer to understanding the rapid decline of our coral reefs, thanks to a breakthrough study linking coral immunity with its susceptibility to bleaching and disease.

The discovery was made by Caroline Palmer, Bette Willis and John Bythell, scientists from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (Queensland) and Newcastle University (UK).

"Understanding the immune system of reef-building corals will help to reduce the impact of coral diseases and environmental stresses," says Caroline Palmer, lead author of the publication. "Potentially, this will enable us to more accurately predict the vulnerability of coral reefs to disease and bleaching, before there are obvious signs of stress."

"This unique study broadens the limited knowledge we have about the defence systems of corals, which is one of the main challenges facing scientists aiming to protect corals" says Professor Bette Willis, a chief investigator in the ARC CoE for Coral Reef Studies. "Identifying and measuring the immune functions of several different corals allows us to predict which ones are particularly susceptible to stress."

"Variation in levels of immune function among different species is likely dependent on the energy they assign to it. As energy is vital for an effective immune response, corals that utilise energy to grow and reproduce rapidly have less to spare for their immune response," says Caroline Palmer. "These corals, like the staghorns, Acropora, are the colonies most vulnerable when challenged by temperature stress or disease."

A key element of the coral immune system is melanin production. Melanin, a classic part of immune responses found in invertebrates, also provides a defence against disease-causing organisms in corals. It may also be used to stop harmful UV light from reaching the symbiotic algae and causing bleaching.

The study of coral immunity will enable scientists to better pre-empt the effects of different stresses on corals. This is important, as by the time physical symptoms become apparent, strategies to mitigate stress effects will be far less valuable.

"Our increased understanding of coral immune systems may therefore be used to address the causes rather than the symptoms of coral declines", says Caroline Palmer. Bette Willis adds: "This approach is necessary particularly given that coral bleaching is similar to having a fever it's a common sign for many different stresses so it's often difficult to point to any one cause in particular".

Two of the main factors that cause corals to bleach are attacks by disease-causing microbes and temperature stress. It is currently estimated that between three and six per cent of corals in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are affected by coral diseases, and up to a third of corals at a given location can be affected by temperature stress in a warm year. Temperature stress is a growing concern due to global warming.

Researchers and reef managers are currently working on strategies to protect vulnerable coral sites. The preventive measures envisioned involve minimising human impacts which might further injure the coral, such as dredging, building construction, pollution, land runoff or damaging corals by boat activity or fishing.


'/>"/>

Contact: Bette Willis
Bette.Willis@jcu.edu.au
61-747-815-349
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Baby corals dance their way home
2. Not a fish story: Protected corals increase fishing profits
3. New study sheds light on corals susceptibility to temperature change
4. Ancient corals hold new hope for reefs
5. Nursery programs for corals receive TLC from NOAA this Independence Day
6. Corals stay close to home
7. Help for climate-stressed corals
8. Global sunscreen wont save corals
9. 4 years after tsunami: Corals stage comeback
10. Cold water corals conference to be held in Woods Hole
11. Rare corals breed their way out of trouble
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/23/2016)... 2016 Einzigartige ... und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern     ... MESG ), ein führender Anbieter digitaler Kommunikationsdienste, ... SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen Biometrietechnologie einzusetzen. ... Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler Apps neben ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... March 18, 2016 --> ... Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter ... companies in the border security market and the continuing migration ... Europe has led visiongain to publish ... success. --> defence & security companies in ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... Florida , March 14, 2016 ... the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a ... channels starting the week of March 21 st .  The ... CNBC, including its popular Squawk on the Street show. ... focused on the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... Melbourne, FL (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... of eight she tore her cruciate ligament in her left knee. Lady’s owner Hannah ... , a central Florida board-certified veterinary surgeon, to repair her cruciate ligament and help ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Media ... The new Media Cybernetics corporate branding reflects a results-driven revitalization for a company ... analysis. The re-branding components include a crisp, refreshed logo and a new web ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... May 23, 2016 - Leading CRO,s Use ... - Frontage Implement a Single Platform to Manage End-to-end Operations ... Within the Bioanalytical lab Frontage Laboratories, a full-service contract ... and China , has selected IDBS, ... In addition to serving as the global electronic lab notebook (ELN), ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... , ... May 20, 2016 , ... Kablooe Design, a ... companies, today announced its official 25th anniversary of the business. “We have worked hard ... grateful to our customers for the privilege and honor of serving their product design ...
Breaking Biology Technology: