Viral Disease -- Particularly from Herpes -- Gaining Interest as Possible Cause of Coral Decline
March 28, 2012
"It appears the corals that form such important parts of marine ecosystems harbor many different viruses - particularly herpes. And although they don't get runny noses or stomach upset, corals also are home to the adenoviruses and other viral families that can cause human colds and gastrointestinal disease.
In a research review published in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, scientists point out that coral declines are reaching crisis proportions but little has been done so far to explore viral disease as one of the mechanisms for this problem.
"Coral abundance in the Caribbean Sea has gone down about 80 percent in the past 30-40 years, and about one-third of the corals around the world are threatened with extinction," said Rebecca Vega-Thurber, an assistant professor of microbiology at Oregon State University."
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