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:2/8/2017)... (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a leading supplier of biometrics ... and year ended December 31, 2016. Revenue ... to $6.9 million in the same quarter last year. Operating ... compared to $2.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. ... million, or $0.02 per diluted share, which compares to $1.8 ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... YORK , Feb. 7, 2017 ... Driven largely by the confluence of organizations, desires ... distaste for knowledge-based systems (password and challenge questions), ... industrial, and government systems. The market is driven ... a demarcation between consumer and enterprise uses cases, ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... --  MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology ... is pleased to announce that the latest release of ... and award winning eClinical solution, is now available for ... a proven Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) clinical research technology platform that ... delivers an entire suite of eClinical tools to support ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... announced the addition of Tom Perkins as European director. Operating from Pennside’s Zurich ... to Pennside. , Perkins joins Pennside after more than a decade with ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... 2017 Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: SYN), ... to protect and restore the health of patients, intends to report ... 2016 on Thursday, March 2, 2017, and to host a conference ... for the call is as follows: U.S. (toll free): ... ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 21, 2017 , ... ... VTX-1 Liquid Biopsy System , a fully automated benchtop system for collecting ... The VTX-1 is being launched at the Molecular Medicine Tri Conference (Tri-Con) Annual ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 21, 2017 , ... The medical ... for their use, in multiple areas of medicine, due to their differentiating characteristics. Stem ... and they have the ability to be induced to become tissue or organic-specific cells ...
Breaking Biology Technology: