From: KAUST University of Science and Technology
Published February 10, 2017 02:48 PM

A warm relationship between corals and bacteria

Bacteria in certain microbiomes appear to help corals adapt to higher water temperatures and protect against bleaching, as shown by a KAUST-led research team.

Coral animals rely on algal and bacterial symbionts, known as their microbiome, to function and thrive. These mutually beneficial relationships could prove vital if corals are to survive the rapid warming of the oceans because short-lived bacteria can adapt more quickly than long-lived corals and thus may offer corals some protection. 

“Our challenge is to untangle and understand the symbiotic interactions between corals and other organisms,” said Associate Professor of Marine Science Christian Voolstra at the Red Sea Research Center in KAUST, who led the project in collaboration with scientists at Stanford University. “We designed an experiment that allowed us to monitor coral-bacterial interactions over time and assess their responses to changes in water temperature.”

Read more at KAUST University of Science and Technology

Image Credits: KAUST via Anna Roik

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