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Scientist shed new light on virus' role in coral bleaching
by Oregon State University
Scientists at Oregon State University have shown that viral infection is involved in coral bleaching—the breakdown of the symbiotic relationship between corals and the algae they rely on for energy.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the research is important because understanding the factors behind coral health is crucial to efforts to save the Earth's embattled reefs—between 2014 and 2017 alone, more than 75% experienced bleaching-level heat stress, and 30% suffered mortality-level stress.
The planet's largest and most significant structures of biological origin, coral reefs are found in less than 1% of the ocean but are home to nearly one-quarter of all known marine species. Reefs also help regulate the sea's carbon dioxide levels and are a vital hunting ground that scientists use in the search for new medicines.
Since their first appearance 425 million years ago, corals have branched into more than 1,500 species. A complex composition of dinoflagellates—including the algae symbiont—fungi, bacteria, archaea and viruses make up the coral microbiome, and shifts in microbiome composition are connected to changes in coral health.
The algae the corals need can be stressed by warming oceans to the point of dysbiosis—a collapse of the host-symbiont partnership.
Kelp forests dominate coastal environments in temperate and subpolar latitudes around the world and, much like terrestrial forests, create complex habitats that support diverse and productive food webs.
When sinkholes open up on land, it's terrifying. In an instant, they can swallow whatever's on top of them, whether that's a road, a landscape, or an ancient creature destined to not see the light of day again for millennia.
Since the introduction of closed-circuit rebreathers (CCR) to the commercial market in the mid 1990s, this technology has opened new frontiers to diving scientists while dramatically expanding the capacity for conducting underwater research within re
A long time ago, in an ocean not so far away, a boat jetted across the calm swell of Point Loma. However, under the surface of the rolling waves a silent battle was raging. Algae just under the surface are locked in a constant fight for light and spa
Sunlight enters the lab as I sit down to peer through the microscope. I always make sure to slowly increase the light, adjust the ocular lenses, set the magnification to 4x, and look carefully. After some fine adjustments, microscopic circular object