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Scientists highlight the importance of nutrients for coral reefs
Date:2/27/2014

orals live in a symbiotic relationship with microscopically small plant cells, they require certain amounts of nutrients as "fertiliser". In fact, the experimental addition of nutrients can promote coral growth. "One should not conclude from such findings, however, that nutrient enrichment is beneficial for coral reefs usually the opposite is true," explains Dr Cecilia D'Angelo, Senior Research Fellow in the Coral Reef Laboratory and co-author on the article.

Professor Wiedenmann, whose research on coral reef nutrient biology is supported by one of the prestigious Starting Grants from the European Research Commission, adds: "Too many nutrients harm corals in many different ways, easily outweighing the positive effects that they can undoubtedly have for the coralalga association. Paradoxically, the initial addition of nutrients to the water column might result in nutrient starvation of the corals at a later stage. In this publication, we conceptualise the important role that the competition for nutrients by phytoplankton, the free-living relatives of the corals' symbiotic algae, may have in this context."

"Nutrient pollution will continue to increase in many coral reefs. Therefore, an important prerequisite to develop efficient management strategies is a profound understanding of the different mechanisms by which corals suffer from nutrient stress."


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Contact: Glenn Harris
G.Harris@soton.ac.uk
44-023-805-93212
University of Southampton
Source:Eurekalert  

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