Navigation Links
Rethinking the reef
Date:7/3/2014

A new study by biologists at San Diego State University and Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows that inhabited coral islands that engage in commercial fishing dramatically alter their nearby reef ecosystems, disturbing the microbes, corals, algae and fish that call the reef home.

The study's lead author, Linda Wegley Kelly, is a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of SDSU virologist Forest Rohwer.

For the study, she looked at seawater samples collected from the surfaces of reefs surrounding all 11 of the Line Islands, a chain of atolls in the central Pacific Ocean. Over the past five years, Kelly and her colleagues have made sporadic trips to the islands, collecting the samples with a specially adapted bilge pump that sucks up approximately 100 liters of water in a given area.

Kelly sequenced the microbiomes of the samples to determine the DNA encoded by the viruses, bacteria, archaea (tiny, single-celled microorganisms like Halobacteria), and protists (similarly tiny eukaryotic microorganisms such as diatoms) all living in the same space. Within these millions of DNA sequences, Kelly found that certain types of bacteria predicted whether the reef was predominantly composed up of coral or algae.

Algae or coral?

The preponderance of either of these organisms has huge ramifications for the health of the surrounding sea.

"Corals are fierce competitors for space on the reef," Kelly said. "In a healthy marine environment, reefs support a vibrant population of corals and other calcifying organisms that continuously build the reef skyward."

If reefs are dominated by algae, however, the entire habitat dissolves over time and the fish don't have anywhere to go, Kelly explained.

When she sequenced the surfaces of algae-covered reefs, Kelly identified microbes that may contribute to an ecological feedback loop which impairs coral growth. Her study was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Population centers

Another observation, that the reef microbiomes on unpopulated islands were more similar to one another than to other geographically closer but populated islands, suggests that the entire community of reef inhabitants, including the microbes, is more significantly influenced by the degree of the reef's coral or algal cover than researchers previously realized.

Her results have implications for conservationists looking for ways to improve strategies for managing coral reef ecosystems.

"How do you create an environment for corals to thrive?" Kelly asked. "In addition to practicing sustainable fishing, one way to rehabilitate a reef would be to transplant corals to the site. This should promote an environment more conducive to coral growth by fostering a beneficial community of microorganisms."


'/>"/>

Contact: Natalia Elko
natalia.elko@mail.sdsu.edu
619-594-2585
San Diego State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Researchers call for rethinking efforts to prevent interplanetary contamination
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Rethinking the reef
(Date:2/11/2016)... -- According to new research from Acuity Market Intelligence, ... fingerprint, iris, and eye-vein biometric smartphones have been ... This includes market leaders Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, ... 600 million biometric smartphones are currently in use ... Maxine Most , Acuity Market Intelligence Principal, ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... LIVERMORE, Calif. , Feb. 11, 2016  Vigilant Solutions ... commercial LPR data are being used by Lee,s ... residents, including the recent location and arrest of a homicide ... Lee,s Summit covers around 65 square miles and ... Police Department has a single mobile license plate ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... February 10, 2016 ... to 2016 iris recognition market report, combined ... is more widely accepted for border control. ... fingerprint and iris recognition technology in a ... avoid purchasing two individual biometrics devices. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Non-profit Consortium Aims to Generate Genomic ... Research and Discovery --> --> ... plan to sequence 100,000 individuals. It is intended to initially ... 7 of North and East Asian countries. ... project will focus on creating phased reference genomes for all ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: NBIX ) today announced ... 2015. --> --> For ... of $29.3 million, or $0.34 loss per share, compared to a ... the same period in 2014. For the year ended December 31, ... $1.05 loss per share, as compared to a net loss of ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... -- Vermillion, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRML ), a bio-analytical solutions ... of the Steering Committee for its Pelvic Mass Registry. ... Pelvic masses can present physicians and healthcare professionals with ... ruled out, pelvic masses may include cancers of the ... tumors and gastrointestinal and urinary tract masses. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Germany and ... -- QGEN ; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) ... QIAseq Targeted RNA Panels for gene expression profiling, expanding ... sequencing (NGS). The panels enable researchers to select from ... fold changes and discover interactions between genes, cellular phenotypes ...
Breaking Biology Technology: