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New research highlights the devastation caused when global-scale ocean warming interacts with short-lived weather anomalies, and adds urgency to the question of how reefs will fare through the end of this century.
A new study from WHOI indicates that superoxide—a natural toxin believed to be the main culprit behind coral bleaching—may actually play a beneficial role in coral health and resilience.
In novel lab observations of interactions between corals and planktonic bacteria, known as picoplankton, researchers found that corals are selectively feeding on specific types of bacteria—the same bacteria whose growth is promoted by organic matter and nutrients that are released by the corals.
As the ocean absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) released by the burning of fossil fuels, its chemistry is changing, lowering its pH in a process known as ocean acidification. This process also removes carbonate ions, an essential ingredient needed by corals and other organisms to build their skeletons and shells.
Corals may let certain bacteria get under its skin, according to a new study by researchers at WHOI and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The study offers the first direct evidence that Stylophora pistillata, a species of reef-building coral found throughout the Indian and west Pacific Oceans, harbors bacterial denizens deep within its tissues.
The ability of deep-sea corals to harbor a broad array of marine life, including commercially important fish species, make these habitat-forming organisms of immediate interest to conservationists, managers, and scientists. Understanding and protecting corals requires knowledge of the historical processes that have shaped their biodiversity and biogeography.
Scientists have predicted that ocean temperatures will rise in the equatorial Pacific by the end of the century, wreaking havoc on coral reef ecosystems. But a new study by WHOI scientists shows that climate change could cause ocean currents to operate in a surprising way and mitigate the warming near a handful of islands right on the equator. As a result these Pacific islands may become isolated refuges for corals and fish.
Six scientists from WHOI have contributed to a new report finding "compelling evidence" that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has impacted deep-sea coral communities in the Gulf of Mexico. The study utilized all the National Deep Submergence Facility vehicles to investigate the corals, and employed an advanced technique pioneered at WHOI for use in oil spill research.
New evidence of sea-level oscillations during a warm period that started about 125,000 years ago raises the possibility of a similar scenario if the planet continues its more recent warming trend, says a research team led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).
Coral reefs around the world are in serious trouble from pollution, over-fishing, climate change and more. The last thing they need is an infection. But that’s exactly what yellow band disease (YBD) is—a bacterial infection that sickens coral colonies. Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and colleagues have found that YBD seems to be getting worse with global warming and announced that they’ve identified the bacteria responsible for the disease.
Scientists from North America and Europe will meet to develop the first coherent plan for studying and conserving cold-water corals in the Atlantic Ocean. The plan will lay the foundations for an international research program beginning 2010.
More than a decade after fishing stopped near the Corner Rise Seamounts in the North Atlantic, researchers have found that the seafloor still has patches that are almost completely devoid of life.
Coral reef fish hatchlings dispersed by ocean currents are able to make their way back to their home reefs again to spawn.
Climate scientists are finding interesting clues to ancient climates in the corals of Honduras.
WHOI biologists and physical oceanographers joined forces in May to study the effect of ocean currents on fish larvae spawned on coral reefs in Belize.
Corals from Papua New Guinea and Barbados indicate that changes in sea level, one of the key indexes for global climate change, may have been more frequent in the past than previously thought.
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