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Acropora coral up close.

Teeming with Life

A close-up view of an Acropora coral reveals small individual coral polyps (the small, button-like dots), but a microscope is necessary to study the millions of inhabitants inside the coral—microbes. WHOI microbiologist Amy Apprill is studying how microscopic life such as bacteria, and algae interact with corals to scavenge for nutrients, remove waste and perform other jobs. This new way of looking at corals is similar to the way some scientists look at humans—as complex superorganisms that incorporate microbes in symbiotic collaborations. (Photo by Luis Lamar, Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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