Complexity of Coral Reefs
Author: Marlene Cimons
Source: US News and World Report
June 25, 2012
"Tropical coral reefs live in a close relationship with single-celled algae called dinoflagellates. The algae offer nutrients to the coral as a byproduct of photosynthesis, while the reefs provide the algae with shelter, protection from other sea life seeking to eat them, and a home that is close to light.
The bond fascinates scientist Monica Medina, who has been studying how corals respond to natural and stressful conditions such as global warming, and coastal development, as well as their response to shifts in the microbial community both in the corals themselves and in the surrounding environments.
“Coral reefs are threatened ecosystems,” says Medina, associate professor in the School of Natural Sciences at the University of California, Merced. “I think society is not paying enough attention. Reefs are disappearing fast, and the mounting pressure is only going up.”"
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