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Cooling Ocean Temperature Could Buy More Time for Coral Reefs

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Limiting the amount of warming experienced by the world’s oceans in the future could buy some time for tropical coral reefs, say researchers from the University of Bristol.  The study, published by the journal Geophysical Research Letters, used computer models to investigate how shallow-water tropical coral reef habitats may respond to climate change over the coming decades. Dr. Elena Couce and colleagues found that restricting greenhouse warming to three watts per square metre (equivalent to just 50-100 parts per million carbon dioxide, or approximately half again the increase since the Industrial Revolution) is needed in order to avoid large-scale reductions in reef habitat occurring in the future. read more

Zooxanthellae Genome Decoded for First Time

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The Marine Genomics Unit of Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology Graduate University (OIST) has decoded the genome of the algae Symbiodinium minutum. The Marine Genomics Unit of Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology Graduate University (OIST) has decoded the genome of the algae Symbiodinium minutum.  In 2011, the Marine Genomics Unit decoded the approximately 420-megabase genome of the coral Acropora digitifera for the first time. The OIST group has now succeeded in establishing for the first time the genomic information of both the coral host and the symbiont. This information will greatly facilitate research on coral biology. For example, it will be possible to investigate whether corals or symbionts, respond first to environmental changes such as seawater temperature rise. Similarly, researchers can examine if corals respond to different stresses via a similar molecular mechanism or different mechanisms. These areas of research are greatly facilitated by both genomes being decoded in the same laboratory. read more