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The good, the bad and the smelly: USGS at the 2008 Coral Reef Symposium
Date:7/7/2008

Muller at 321-674-7323, emuller@fit.edu. Also, check out the new fact sheet on coral diseases following the massive bleaching event in 2005; it can be found at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2008/3058/

The Good, the Bad, and the Smelly: How do Coral Larvae Know Where to Settle? How algal species maintain dominance in degraded reef habitats is a critical question for reef resource managers. Some common reef algae, but not all, use chemical defenses to inhibit grazing by Caribbean reef fishes and the sea urchin Diadema antillarum. These chemical defenses may also influence competitive interactions between algae and corals. In this study, researchers found that chemical extracts of certain algal species could be detected (i.e., "smelled") by coral larvae, causing them to avoid settling in the area. However, not all algae are bad; some coralline (calcified) algae may act as facilitators for coral settlement. The research also showed that individual species of corals had the highest settlement in response to different species of coralline algae, indicating that higher coralline algal diversity could potentially enhance coral recruit diversity. For more information, contact Raphael Ritson-Williams at 772-538-0495, williams@si.edu or Ilsa Kuffner at 727-492-3886, ikuffner@usgs.gov.

Underwater Sleuthing with Deep ATRIS: A New Tool for Mapping Habitats and Animals: Although geo-positioned observations of coral reefs and nearby areas are essential to many resource-conservation, monitoring and research projects, acquiring such imagery for large areas can be expensive and time-consuming. To enhance its mapping capabilities and provide a more efficient alternative, the U.S. Geological Survey has developed the Deep Along-Track Reef-Imaging System (Deep ATRIS), a towed sensor package deployable from boats of moderate size. Deep
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Contact: Catherine Puckett
cpuckett@usgs.gov
352-264-3532
United States Geological Survey
Source:Eurekalert

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