Navigation Links
Corals that can fight global warming may one day help fragile reefs

While humans can survive large temperature fluctuations, such species as corals are only comfortable within a 12-degree temperature range. And rising global temperatures appear to be threatening their survival, according to Drew Harvell, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

However, she noted in presenting a paper at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco, Feb. 18, Caribbean gorgonian sea fan corals show surprising warm-weather tenacity -- they not only are somewhat temperature resilient but can also boost their cellular and enzymatic defenses to fight lethal microorganisms as temperatures rise. These abilities may someday be harnessed to help protect other fragile coral reefs, Harvell said.

The head of the Coral Disease Working Group of the Global Environmental Facility Coral Reef Targeted Research Program, Harvell describes these latest findings in detail in the March issue of the journal Oceanography. The working group is an international collaboration with stations in the Caribbean, Philippines, Australia and East Africa that seeks to understand how rising ocean temperatures (which are monitored with high-resolution satellite detectors) are related to lethal coral reef epidemics.

The warm temperatures that have been occurring worldwide as a result of global warming appear to be facilitating fatal epidemics in coral reefs across the globe, according to Harvell and her co-researchers. For example, in 2005, the Caribbean experienced unusually warm weather and a spate of coral deaths caused directly by temperature stress and indirectly by opportunistic infections contracted during the warm period.

"Below the waves, the warm temperatures triggered a series of events lethal to coral reefs: massive loss of critical symbionts, compromised immunity and ability to fight pathogens, and increased susceptibility to lethal infectious microorganisms," reported Harvell. < /p>

However, the precise connection between warmer waters and coral disease is unclear. "It is difficult to pinpoint yet how temperature stress decreases the immune response," said Harvell. "Although corals are near the base of the evolutionary tree, they are complicated animals."

The complexities arise from different levels of symbiosis within a coral, both with bacteria on the surface and algae in the interior. Moreover, the warmer waters cause increased virulence of some pathogens as well as a diminished ability of corals to fight them. But these complications can also be keys to coral reef survival.

"A first line of defense is provided by surface microorganisms ?[that] produce antibiotics that can help corals fight pathogenic bacteria," reported Harvell.

However, not all corals are able to produce such defenses under thermal stress. "Some corals show unusual resilience to the double threat [of pathogens and warming seas], and we should look to these hardy corals for clues that might enhance others," said Harvell. "Other corals are more sensitive and will not survive the continued warming trend."

Yet there seems to be future promise for boosting the immunity of coral reefs, Harvell reported. Collaborators Rotem Effrony and Eugene Rosenberg in Tel Aviv, Israel, have isolated viruses that can consume several bacteria that are deadly to the more sensitive corals.
'"/>

Source:Cornell University News Service


Related biology news :

1. Corals switch skeleton material as seawater changes
2. Corals -- More complex than you?
3. Learning to fight an adversary that wont stay down
4. Antibiotic might fight HIV-induced neurological problems
5. NYU study reveals how brains immune system fights viral encephalitis
6. Molecular models advance the fight against malaria
7. Molecule that usually protects infection-fighting cells may cause plaque deposits inside arteries
8. Researchers find promising cancer-fighting power of synthetic cell-signaling molecule
9. Agilent Technologies new genome analysis technology set to accelerate Australia fight against mesothelioma
10. Two chemicals boost immune cells ability to fight HIV without gene therapy
11. Experiment station researchers to explore genome of disease-fighting fungus

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016 ... the,  "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ) , ,The global gait biometrics ... of 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. ... angles, which can be used to compute factors ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new ... higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health ... mass index, and, when they opt in, share them ... to a local retail location at no cost. By ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has ... CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to ... the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, ... Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software ... the company. Dr. Bready served as CEO ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... Despite the volatility that continues to envelop the ... research on ActiveWallSt.com directs the investor community,s focus on the ... ), Cerus Corp. (NASDAQ: CERS ), Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals ... Inc. (NASDAQ: FPRX ). Register with us today ... On Wednesday, shares in Massachusetts ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 ... ... development and manufacturing company, today announced several positive developments that position the Company ... As a result of the transaction, Craig F. Kinghorn has been appointed Chairman ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Lajollacooks4u has become a rising ... been rated one of its top attractions. Fortune 500 companies, such as Illumina, ... a unique and intimate team-building experience. , Each event kicks off with an olive ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... of fracture-specific plating options designed to address fractures of the distal tibia and ... , The Acumed Ankle Plating System 3 is composed of seven plate families ...
Breaking Biology Technology: