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:2/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 ... healthcare facilities are primarily focused on medical ... that measure point-of-care parameters. Wearable devices that ... a user,s freedom of movement are being ... sensors for human biomedical signal acquisition coupled ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2016 Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer – ... Are you interested in the future of cancer ... inhibitors. Visiongain,s report gives those predictions to 2026 ... level. Avoid falling behind in data or ... revenues those emerging cancer therapies can achieve. There ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2, 2016   Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon) ... Army Research Office and the Defense Forensics and ... of the company,s Snapshot Kinship Inference ... more generally, defense-related DNA forensics.  Although Snapshot is ... appearance and ancestry from DNA evidence), it also ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Curoverse announced today that the open-source, multi-platform ... for managing and processing genomic and health data at petabyte scale. ... analyzing genomic data,” said Adam Berrey chief executive officer at Curoverse. “Microsoft Azure ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Cenna Bioscience Inc., an emerging biopharmaceutical company focused ... announced today it has been selected to present at the Cavendish Global Health Impact ... Florida. The purpose of the Forum is to help family offices and foundations ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... With a presidential election in ... Care Business Conference will bring together over 500 top healthcare leaders for a night ... transformation. The conference, organized by MBA students of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... Date and time: March ... at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County, 3805 Old Easton Road, Doylestown, ... (TCMC) will hold an open house for participants to learn about a new ...
Breaking Biology Technology: