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Research expedition on corals and global warming: Aug. 17-26 in Puerto Rico
Date:8/26/2008

g chambers, she will place eggs from certain populations with sperm from certain other populations. Over the next seven days, she will raise the newly formed juvenile corals in saltwater tanks on land. She then will ship half of them to several aquaria around the world and will return the other half to the reef. "Corals are most vulnerable when they are very small, and our protected nursery will help them to get through the first critical days," said Baums.

Next, the juvenile corals in captivity will be subjected to a variety of higher-than-normal and lower-than-normal water temperatures in order to pinpoint those offspring whose parents can tolerate abnormal water conditions. Once Baums identifies these individuals, she will search their genomes for variants of genes that are responsible for resistance to abnormal water temperatures. With this knowledge, she then can develop genetic markers that will enable her to identify wild elkhorn-coral populations throughout the Caribbean that contain such gene variants.

In collaboration with SECORE (SExual COral REproduction), an international organization of professional aquarists and scientists that is concerned about coral conservation, Baums will hold a workshop during the annual coral-spawning event in Puerto Rico. Through the workshop, she and other researchers will teach a group of 28 aquarium professionals from around the world how to collect coral spawn, do fertilization experiments, raise larvae, and care for larvae once they are shipped back to the participants' home institutions. The workshop, which is now in its third year, already has been given to over 60 aquarium professionals. Baums and other members of SECORE plan to continue to the workshop in future years to reach as many aquarium professionals as possible.

"Poachers often collect wild corals to satisfy the demand for aquariums, but aquarium professionals are looking for alternative, less destructive sources of these a
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Contact: Barbara K. Kennedy
science@psu.edu
814-863-4682
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3 4

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