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:3/14/2016)... March 14, 2016 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... commerce market, announces the airing of a new series of ... week of March 21 st .  The commercials will air ... popular Squawk on the Street show. --> NXTD ... growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a new ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... 2016   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) ... (CBP) is testing its biometric identity solution at the Otay ... to help identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. ... to help determine the efficiency and accuracy of using biometric ... will run until May 2016. --> the ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... 2016  FlexTech, a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, awarded ... & Development, Leadership in Education, and, in a category ... th year of the FLEXI Awards and the ... from past years . Judging was done on ... of criteria, by a panel of non-affiliated, independent, industry ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... personalized pain medicine, is excited to announce the launch of the Proove ... health studies, volunteerism, and education to promote the use of personalized medicine for ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , April 29, 2016 ... by Transparency Market Research "Separation Systems for Commercial ... Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2015 - 2023", the ... at US$ 10,665.5 Mn in 2014 and is ... from 2015 to 2023 to reach US$ 19,227.8 ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Summit for Stem Cell has received a ... a patient-specific stem cell therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The Summit research ... at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, CA. , The aim ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... 2016 Elekta is pleased to ... its industry-leading treatment planning software, is available for clinical ... version 5.11 provides significant performance speed enhancements ... up to four times faster than in previous versions ... gold standard Monte Carlo algorithm, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: