Friday, November 6, 2009

Marine Lab Team Seeks to Understand Coral Bleaching

Article taken from Science Daily

Coral bleaching is when coral whitens due to a disruption in symbiosis specifically, between zooxanthellae & algae. Both of these organisms live in the coral and provide an energy source. The chemicals in the algae are what give them there color. An ocean living bacteria is unfortunately attacking the coral which causes the zoox... to come loose and then loose its color. The attacking bacteria lives on the basis of temperature above 24 deg. Therefore, scientists are concerned that as ocean temperatures rise this may have an extremely negative effect on coral.

Scientists are now using magnetic resonance to study metabolic changes in the bacteria to measure the effects. In this investigation, the scientists are looking at the varied results at 24 degrees and then again at 27 degrees Celsius. From the data, they are gathering clues and learning why a small temperature change a non virulent bacteria to a "coral bleaching menace." More studies are planned for the future and scientists hope that these findings will lead to a better understanding of symbiotic relationships that exist in healthy coral and the impacts on those relationships under changing ecological conditions.

Classroom: This article may work when studying climate or possible when discussing the effects of global warming.

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