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coral reefs

This tag is associated with 24 posts

The Coral Dilemma: Is Hybridization the Key?

Coral: a mineral, plant, and animal all in one (oh my!) Unfortunately, coral is in danger- and the many reefs which support a wide variety of organisms (including humans) are rapidly dying. Does interspecific hybridization hold the key to our coral dilemma? Rishya NarayananRishya has a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, and will start an M.S. […]

Going viral: relationships between coral reef health and viruses

What organisms live in coral reefs? Corals (obviously), fish, snorkeling tourists…but some of the most important members we can’t even see with the naked eye, and some argue aren’t even alive! In this post we explore the role of viruses in coral reefs, and what we do – and don’t – know about coral-virus interactions. […]

Corals get their auras read

Corals, depending on dominant cover type, can influence the microbial community living in the surrounding water. Read on to find out more about the coral aura-biome. Katherine BarrettKate is a 2nd year PhD student in the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Notre Dame, and holds a Masters in Environmental Science & Biology from […]

Invasive seagrass changes fish community in the US Virgin Islands

Seagrass meadows provide food and habitat for a variety of fish species. Juvenile fish are particularly dependent on the meadows, for the shelter they provide from predators. In the Caribbean, several native seagrasses might be found in the same shallow estuary or coastline, forming a patchwork of meadows that support a variety of different fish […]

Wandering copepods can’t find their way home in acidic oceans

Journal source: Smith, J. N., C. Richter, K. Fabricius, and A. Cornils. 2017. Pontellid copepods affected by ocean acidification: A field study at natural CO2 seeps. PLoS ONE 12 doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175663. Introduction Ocean acidification (OA for short) is a topic that seems to be receiving increased attention, and if you’ve scrolled through some recent Oceanbites posts, […]

New Nitrogen in Town: Nitrogen Deposition on the Open Ocean

Life in the ocean depends on a variety of nutrients, an important one being nitrogen. Phytoplankton, at the bottom of the oceanic food chain, require it to photosynthesize. Burning fossil fuels releases nitrogen into the atmosphere, and a portion of it is known to settle into the ocean. Has the ocean started to show signs […]

Small MPAs: the new all-you-can-eat buffets?

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a popular conservation tool and are in many situations very effective. Unfortunately, as with many plans, there may be some unintended consequences, as seen in the case of small MPAs in Fiji, where they appear to have attracted corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea stars (Acanthaster spp.). Find out more in today’s oceanbites! […]

Hard Coral or Macroalgae? Coral Reefs May Have Another Option

Most of the time coral reef communities are discussed, it seems the focus is whether they’re dominated by hard coral or algae. It turns out there may be other possible outcomes for reefs in the future. Find out more in today’s oceanbites! Rebecca FlynnI am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.S.) and […]

Warm water curtails sea snakes’ dives

Like frogs, sea snakes can uptake oxygen through both their lungs and their skin. How will these “bimodal breathers” cope with warm ocean temperatures? Brittney G. BorowiecBrittney is a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, and joined Oceanbites in September 2015. Her research focuses on the physiological mechanisms and evolution of the […]

Do coral reefs help fight climate change?

Coral reefs are called the rainforests of the sea for their stunning biodiversity. But can they, like forests on land, absorb CO2 and help reduce global warming? Michael PhilbenI recently completed a PhD in Marine Science at the University of South Carolina and am now a postdoc at Memorial University of Newfoundland. I research the […]

Changing with the environment: how resilient are coral reef fish?

Coral reef fish are some of the most sensitive animals to climate change. How will coral reef fish respond to predicted increases in temperature and carbon dioxide? Do they have the ability to adapt to future conditions or is it already too late? Sean AndersonI am a first year MS candidate at the University of […]

The importance of sea urchins

A look into Valeska’s graduate research. Why coral reefs depend on the long spined black sea urchin for survival. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries and aquatic science PhD I am working on how to tank raise urchins and transplant them onto reefs across the Florida Keys in order to help reverse the phase shift from algae […]

Better Together: Mutualisms contribute to reef fish recruitment

All other things being equal, would you rather live where mutually beneficial relationships are available or where they aren’t? Well, if you’re like me, you’d prefer beneficial relationships. And I’m not alone in that. It turns out that damselfish on reefs prefer to settle where there are cleaner wrasses to keep them parasite-free. Read on […]

Wake-up Call: Global Oceans in Big Trouble!

Our global oceans are in a state of crisis. A new report from the WWF paints a bleak picture: human interference has pushed the oceans to the brink of collapse. The health of marine organisms and the habitats they live in have become severely threatened by compounding factors such as pollution, overfishing and increased CO2 […]

The barrels of the sea; giant barrel sponges that is

Giant barrel sponges are understudied compared to many other marine organisms, but that doesn’t make them any less important. Climate change has taken its toll on the Florida Keys coral reefs, but the giant barrel sponge has proven to be a hearty animal, growing in size and population. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries and aquatic science […]

Corals better learn to keep up or they may drown!

The coral reefs protecting many islands in the Pacific need to grow quickly in order to keep up with the rising sea levels and increasing ocean temperatures. As of now, researchers are optimistic that some species of corals are up to this challenge, but that relies on the rate of sea level rise. Valeska UphamFor […]

Switching it up: When do predation and habitat control damselfish abundance?

Another tale of how the loss of predators due to overfishing might impact coral reefs, but this one has a twist! Instead of the emphasis being on who’s eating whom, prey fish behavior is the key to what happens to the corals! Learn more in today’s oceanbites! Rebecca FlynnI am a graduate of the University […]

An exact replica of a coral reef right in the office!

In order to better understand coral reef complexity and structure researchers developed a cost effective way to 3D print coral reefs. Using these 3D models, researchers were able to dissect the complexity of coral reefs and better understand their intricate growth patterns. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries and aquatic science PhD I am working on how […]

Sponges Out of Control: Another Effect of Overfishing

When you think about threats to coral reefs, you don’t think “Sponges!”, do you? But you might come up with “overfishing.” While the overfishing of herbivorous (algae-eating) species has grabbed attention, we may need to consider the loss of sponge-eating fish too. Check out some new research that shows an increase in sponge-coral interactions where […]

A new thermally tolerant species of algae is found!

Rising ocean temperatures threaten coral reefs, but a new thermal tolerant algae could help. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries and aquatic science PhD I am working on how to tank raise urchins and transplant them onto reefs across the Florida Keys in order to help reverse the phase shift from algae dominated back to coral dominated.

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