Heat-Tolerant Corals May Have Bacterial Secret Useful for Restoration

Reposted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018 by Paula Melo

EcoMagazine.com    May 22, 2018

Corals that tolerate heat stress may harbor different bacteria than others, reports a New College undergraduate thesis study conducted in the US Virgin Islands. This critical information may help scientists find or raise corals more resilient to increasing temperatures projected with climate change.

For her undergraduate thesis for New College of Florida, senior Constance Sartor worked with Mote Marine Laboratory Staff Scientist Dr. Erinn Muller to study a unique batch of corals in Hurricane Hole, US Virgin Islands, which were particularly resilient during a coral bleaching event caused by elevated temperatures in 2004-2005. Sartor examined which bacteria were associated with three main coral species: Orbicella annularis (boulder star coral), Diploria labyrinthiformis (grooved brain coral), and Colpophyllia natans (large-grooved brain coral) to understand how they may relate to heat tolerance.