New Facts On Coral Give Insight Into Its Breakdown

May 29, 2009

US (ChattahBox) – The National Science Foundation has begun a research project into the breaking down of coral reefs that has been causing alarm for several years.

Coral reefs, a living organism that takes the form of hardened plant life, works with certain types of algae for mutual survival. One communicates to the other that it is meant to be there, so the coral does not attempt to destroy or protect itself against an invader. This allows it to feed, as it is almost completely reliant on algae for it’s food source.

However, according to a study that was published in the journal Science, researchers believe that the warming ocean water, which has been caused by global warming, may be interfering with that communication, causing the coral to protect itself against the algae, and eliminating it’s food source.

These facts are only just becoming aware, as little has been known about the makeup of corals, or their relationships, until now.

“Only when we really understand how their physiology works will we know if they can adapt to climate changes, or ways that we might help,” Professor Virginia Weis of Oregon State University was quoted in the report as saying.

“With some of the new findings about coral symbiosis and calcification, and how it works, coral biologists are now starting to think more outside the box,” she continues.

“Maybe there’s something we could do to help identify and protect coral species that can survive in different conditions. Perhaps we won’t have to just stand by as the coral reefs of the world die and disappear.”



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