The greater the number of symbionts are willing to let a reef-building corals, the harder they adequately respond to changes in the environment

Scientists from the University of Hawaii failed to refute the concept, was for years a base in the ecology of coral reefs. They found that a wide variety of single-celled algae symbionts Symbiodinium not actually enhances the ability of corals to adapt to the effects of the environment, and weakens it.

Reef-building corals are formed by coral polyps and symbiotic unicellular algae. Polyps provide the algae protection and room to grow in the sunny shallows, and algae instead divided organic building materials and energy produced by photosynthesis.

As it became known portal www.sciencedaily.com, the study analyzed the 34 samples of coral reef taken from Moorea (French Polynesia). Part of living in Symbiodinium algae samples was subjected to genetic research, it turned out that some coral found only one species of algae, while in others — a few different kinds.

After that, the corals were tested for response to natural stimuli, the researchers tried to cause as negative (protective) response and positive. When all the tests, it became clear that the sensitivity of corals to environmental change correlates with the amount found in these types of algae: the highest stability was observed in corals inhabited by a single species of algae.

Coral reefs are important from both an environmental and an economic point of view: they are home to fish and other marine organisms, slow erosion coast, as well as attracting tourists. Human activities often leads to the death and destruction of coral reefs. Maybe, though, the new study will help to reverse or at least slow down this process.

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