Navigation Links
Scientific sleuths pinpoint the guilty coral killers
Date:11/23/2011

The elusive culprits that are killing countless coral reefs around the world can now be nabbed with technology normally used to diagnose human diseases, marine researchers say.

Coral researchers and reef managers will be able to identify coral infections using a new method that allows them to classify specific diseases based on the presence of microbes.

This could lead to more effective action to reduce the impact of disease on the world's imperilled coral reefs.

"Current classification of coral diseases is mostly based on a description of how the coral has deteriorated, such as the pattern of tissue loss and abnormal colours," says Joseph Pollock, a PhD student at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. "This is an ineffective way to identify coral diseases because different diseases can often look very similar. For instance, in the Caribbean alone, more than six "white" diseases show the same characteristics of tissue loss exposing white coral skeletons.

Coral diseases can be caused by a number of different microbes, including viruses, bacteria and fungi. Knowing exactly which toxic organism leads to a particular disease is therefore important for accurate diagnosis and for planning how to manage or control its impact.

One of Pollock's supervisors, David Bourne from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, says that the recent worldwide decline of coral reefs has been accompanied by increased disease, creating an urgent need for a deeper understanding of the various diseases, including what harmful bacteria and viruses contribute to different coral diseases, what triggers them and how they spread.

"Instead of relying on appearances to tell us what disease the corals have, we need to determine what's happening to them before the symptoms show. This will help us to control, or reduce the impacts."

By applying a diagnostic technology commonly used in human disease identification or in forensics, Mr Pollock has found a diagnostic method that can accurately detect and quantify the coral pathogens in a sample of diseased coral.

"The technology is called quantitative-PCR (qPCR) and is often used in human medical research. qPCR works as a genetic fingerprinting technique that both detects and quantifies a specific DNA molecule in a sample. It can detect pathogens at even very low levels as few as a couple of bacteria in a cup of seawater," Mr Pollock says.

Apart from testing corals for the presence of pathogens, researchers can also use the technology on water samples to gauge the general health of the wider coral reef environment, Mr Pollock says.

"This technology is sure to have many applications in the future", he says, "as marine environments are put under pressure by multiple impacts from rapid coastal development, declining water quality, and climate change".


'/>"/>
Contact: Joe Pollock
fjpollock@gmail.com
61-004-664-07141
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scientific collaboration between India and Germany reaches new dimension
2. Jobs, jobs, jobs on the cover of weekly newsmagazine of worlds largest scientific society
3. Virtual institutes to support the scientific collaborations of the future
4. Oligonol receives Supplyside West 2011 scientific Excellence Award
5. Responsibilities of scientists underlined by scientific community
6. Elsevier congratulates editors of Stem Cells: Scientific Facts and Fiction upon receipt of awards
7. New book explores the evolution of a key scientific idea
8. Scientific support for food security and global governance
9. A scientific go for commercial production of vitamin-D enhanced mushrooms
10. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County makes scientific history with pregnant plesiosaur
11. Einstein offers easy-to-use genome analyzer to scientific community
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics was once again ... of the fastest-growing trade shows during the Fastest 50 Awards ... Las Vegas . Winners are ... of the following categories: net square feet of paid exhibit ... 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 out of 50 ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... FRANCISCO , June 16, 2016 ... size is expected to reach USD 1.83 ... by Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and ... banking applications are expected to drive the market ... ) , The development of advanced ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... 3, 2016 Das ... Nepal hat ein 44 ... geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, ... Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte ... Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston ... of novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness ... has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the ... treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) ... inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is ... treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 ... countries. Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... In ... University Hospital in Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated ... tissue. The results could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free ... and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, ... poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA ...
Breaking Biology Technology: