Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Older coral species more hardy
by Staff Writers
Arlington TX (SPX) Aug 21, 2014

A new study published in PLOS ONE says older species of Caribbean coral appear to be faring better against climate change and pollution. Image courtesy Jorge H. Pinzon C./UT Arlington.

New research indicates older species of coral have more of what it takes to survive a warming and increasingly polluted climate, according to biologists from the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez. The researchers examined 140 samples of 14 species of Caribbean corals for a study published by the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

Jorge H. Pinzon C., a postdoctoral researcher in the UT Arlington Department of Biology, is lead author on the study. Co-authors are Laura Mydlarz, UT Arlington associate professor of biology, Joshuah Beach-Letendre, a former masters student in the Mydlarz lab, and Ernesto Weil, professor in marine sciences at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.

The paper is called "Relationship between phylogeny and immunity suggests older Caribbean coral lineages are more resistant to disease."

The team looked at the number of diseases affecting each species over the years and tested the species' base-level immunity in the lab to determine whether a "phylogenic signal" existed. A phylogenetic signal is when organisms in closely related species have characteristics that are more similar to each other than they are to more distant species.

"Species that have been around over longer periods of time have been exposed to more environmental and biological stressors, and they have survived, so it seems logical to expect that they would have better base immunity or be better adapted to respond to new stresses" said Weil.

Mydlarz added: "Our interest is in making sense of these disease patterns. The bottom line is, the older coral species are doing better."

The National Science Foundation funds both Weil and Mydlarz and Weil also received support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Coral reefs around the world are vital to ocean diversity and health, as well as to millions of families and many industries such as fishing and tourism that benefit from the ecological services they provide. But, their health is threatened by pollution, overfishing and climate change.

These stressors have weakened coral defenses and made some species more susceptible to diseases, such as white plague and yellow band diseases.

Some of the oldest corals in the study, such as the Porites astreoides or "mustard hill coral," have been around for more than 200 million years while others diverged to become a new species as recently as 7 million years ago. For the most part, older corals exhibited fewer diseases and better immunity. Researchers found, for example, that older corals can kill up to 41 percent of bacterial growth versus just 14.6 percent in newer species.

Pinzon, who is a recipient of the NSF's U.S. Ocean Science Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, said that the pattern that emerged from the team's work gives scientists "a starting point to predict which corals could be more susceptible to disease."

The paper pinpoints two factors - the inhibition of bacterial growth and melanin concentration - that were higher in older corals and likely play an important role in disease resistance.

Newer species showed higher levels of antioxidants, although, such high levels in antioxidants could indicate newer corals are under constant state of stress that might compromise their immune system and other biological functions.

Mydlarz said her team would continue looking for patterns in coral disease and their explanations. The answers they find could help marine biologists chart the future of coral reefs.

"We don't think coral reefs will go away, but they will change and that change could affect everything else that depends on the reef ecosystem," she said.


Related Links
University of Texas at Arlington
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

'Poor' outlook for Barrier Reef as climate change threatens
Sydney (AFP) Aug 13, 2014
Climate change remains the most serious threat to the Great Barrier Reef and the outlook for the natural wonder is "poor", an Australian government report has warned. The World Heritage site on the north-east coast is "under pressure" and its capacity to recover could be weakening, said the report from the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority, released late Tuesday. "Climate change remain ... read more

China to test recoverable moon orbiter

China to send orbiter to moon and back

August supermoon will be brightest this year

Manned Moon Mission to Cost Russia $2.8 Bln

Curiosity's Brushwork on Martian 'Bonanza King' Target

Humans to Mars a Principle of Space Exploration

Twin Galileos meet, ready for Thursday's launch

Curiosity Mars Rover Prepares for Fourth Rock Drilling

China to spend $1-bn. on massive Caribbean resort

Flexible tapes from the nanoworld

Yi So-yeon, Korea's first and only astronaut, resigns

XCOR Lynx Spacecraft Lands at Monterey Jet Center

China Sends Remote-Sensing Satellite into Orbit

More Tasks for China's Moon Mission

China's Circumlunar Spacecraft Unmasked

China to launch HD observation satellite this year

Belka and Strelka, the canine cosmonauts

Orbital cargo ship makes planned re-entry to Earth

The ISS just dumped 3,300 lbs of space trash to burn up in Earth's atmosphere

ATV completes final automated docking

Russian Cosmonauts Carry Out Science-Oriented Spacewalk Outside ISS

Optus 10 delivered to French Guiana for Ariane 5 Sept launch

Aerojet Rocketdyne Supports Fifth Successful Launch in Six Weeks

SpaceX to build world's first commercial rocket launch site in south Texas

Rotation of Planets Influences Habitability

Planet-like object may have spent its youth as hot as a star

Young binary star system may form planets with weird and wild orbits

Hubble Finds Three Surprisingly Dry Exoplanets

Artificial Cells Act Like the Real Thing

Laser makes microscopes way cooler

Pitt engineer turns metal into glass

Lockheed taps GenDyn unit for Space Fence ground equipment structures

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.