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Tiny Polyps Need Two Kinds of Carbon to Survive Coral Bleaching
By Wendy Heller, March 6, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Biologynews.net

How well ocean reefs recover from the growing damage caused by warming sea temperatures depends both on how much the tiny coral polyps can eat, and how healthy they can keep the microscopic algae that live inside their bodies.

New research intended to dissect one of the planet’s most fertile and endangered ecosystems may change the way scientists look at this symbiotic partnership, shifting it from a case where the polyps function only as landlords to one where the tiny creatures actually nurture their algae.

Preliminary findings were presented today in two papers at the 2008 Ocean Sciences meeting in Orlando. The research focuses on the key role that carbon plays on the recovery of damaged coral reefs.

Andrea Grottoli, an assistant professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University, has spent the last 14 years studying two common forms of coral that populate the reefs near the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. ..

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