Navigation Links
The white stuff: Marine lab team seeks to understand coral bleaching
Date:10/22/2009

With technology similar to that used by physicians to perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, researchers from six institutionsincluding the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)working at the Hollings Marine Laboratory (HML) in Charleston, S.C., are studying the metabolic activity of a pathogen shown to cause coral bleaching, a serious threat to undersea reef ecosystems worldwide.

Coral bleaching is the whitening of living coral due to a disruption of the symbiosis (two organisms whose living together benefits both) with its zooxanthellae, tiny photosynthesizing algae. These unicellular creatures reside within the coral's tissues and provide the host organism with up to 90 percent of its energy. It's the solar-derived chemical products of these algae that give the world's coral species a rainbow of vivid colors. Unfortunately, ecologically valuable coral colonies around the globe are being threatened by an ocean-dwelling bacterium known as Vibrio coralliilyticus. When the microbe becomes virulent, it can infiltrate coral and dislodge the zooxanthellae, causing the coral to lose its pigmentation. If symbiosis is disrupted long enough, the coral dies from starvation.

Environmental scientists have shown in laboratory experiments that the virulence of V. coralliilyticus is temperature dependent, causing bleaching at temperatures above 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit). These findings have raised concerns that increasing ocean temperatureseither through natural seasonal changes or climate change trendsmay lead to increased risk of widespread coral bleaching. During the past two decades, it has been reported that nearly 30 percent of the world's coral reefsand the ecosystems they supporthave been severely degraded by bleaching.

In a recent paper in Environmental Science and Technology,* the HML research team described how it used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study metabolic changes in V. coralliilyticus resulting from temperature effects. The technique allows discovery of small-molecule metabolism-related compounds that correlate with different biological conditions. In this study, the levels of three compoundsbetaine, glutamate and succinatethat help regulate energy production and osmotic pressure (a mechanism for maintaining cellular integrity) in V. coralliilyticus were determined to vary significantly between 24 degrees Celsius when the bacterium is not virulent and 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit) when it is. These metabolic changes, the HML team believes, are clues to learning why the small temperature change can turn non-virulent V. coralliilyticus into a coral bleaching menace.

Future metabolomic studies of V. coralliilyticus are planned to better understand the complete temperature-dependent mechanism involved in its pathogenicity. The researchers hope that these findings will lead to a better understanding of the symbiotic relationships that exist in healthy coral and the potential impacts on those relationships under changing ecological conditions.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael E. Newman
michael.newman@nist.gov
301-975-3025
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. George Whitesides accepts inaugural Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences
2. Northern brown bears discovered feeding on whitefish runs
3. American Society for Microbiology honors Nicholas J. White
4. Mount Sinais Dr. Benjamin tenOever to be honored by White House
5. OJ worse for teeth than whitening says Eastman Institute researchers
6. Geographic profiling applied to track hunting patterns of white sharks in South Africa
7. From Jack the Ripper to great white sharks
8. Beetle shell inspires brilliant white paper
9. Scientists tackle the mystery of white-nose syndrome in bats
10. Scientists unravel the mystery of white-nose syndrome
11. George M. Whitesides receives inaugural Dreyfus prize in the chemical sciences
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
The white stuff: Marine lab team seeks to understand coral bleaching
(Date:3/15/2016)... York , March 15, 2016 ... market report published by Transparency Market Research "Digital Door Lock ... and Forecast 2015 - 2023," the global digital door lock ... 731.9 Mn in 2014 and is forecast to grow at ... Growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... -- --> --> ... Market by Technology (Pattern Recognition), by Component (Hardware, Software, ... (On-Premises and Cloud), by Industry Vertical and by Region ... global market is expected to grow from USD 12.49 ... at a CAGR of 19.1%. , ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , March 9, 2016 ... identity management authentication and enrollment solutions, today announced ... DigitalPersona ® Altus multi-factor authentication ... IT and InfoSec managers to step-up security where ... Washington, DC . ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... After several promising treatments ... at the City of Knowledge in Panama, a 6 year-old Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy ... earlier this year following FDA approval of a second application for a single ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... delegation at BIO 2016 in San Francisco. Located at booth number 7301, representatives ... to answer questions and discuss the Thai biotechnology and life sciences sector. ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Scientists at the University of Athens say they have ... be hampering the research that could lead to one good one. Surviving Mesothelioma has ... now. , The team evaluated 98 mesothelioma patients who got a ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... Mass. (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... heart attacks, diabetes, and traumatic injuries, will be accelerated by research at Worcester ... cells into engines of wound healing and tissue regeneration. , The novel method, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: