Many people think of coral as hard, rock-like formations that attract abundant, diverse marine life. In fact, corals are themselves tiny marine animals called polyps that live together in large colonies.
Coral polyps are relatives of jellyfish and anemones. Some live in shallow water, some in deep; some form hard outer skeletons made of calcium carbonate, others have a soft body encasing hard internal structures known as sclerites. Hundreds of thousands of hard corals with their skeletons glued together form the iconic reef structures that do, indeed, serve as the foundation for important marine ecosystems around the world.
From Oceanus Magazine
To investigate coral bleaching, WHOI scientists figure out a novel way to take direct measurements in the ocean of superoxide, a key molecule that vanishes almost as soon as it is made.
WHOI scientists discovered precisely how ocean acidification affects coral skeletons’ a factor that will help scientists predict how corals throughout the world will fare as the oceans become more acidic.
Some corals are less vulnerable to ocean acidification. Can the offspring from these more resilient corals travel to other reefs to help sustain more vulnerable coral populations there?
We have learned that microbial communities on and within us—a microbiome—keep people healthy. Corals reefs also have their own microbiomes that they couldn’t function without.
Scientists know that gradually rising ocean temperatures can push corals past a threshold and cause them to bleach. But combine…