How microbes control the health of the reef
Coral Reefs are often referred to as the rainforests of the sea. They harbour a large diversity of life, offer a natural coastal defence to prevent land erosion, are important nurseries of many fish species and are a large draw for tourists bringing in substantial income into many countries like the Maldives. However, reefs around the world are under threat. Increases in sea surface temperatures cause phenomena known as coral bleaching and ocean acidification means the corals cannot lay down their calcium carbonate skeleton without it dissolving. However, a less obvious threat, caused by small single celled organisms is also faced by coral reefs. Here we look at the roles bacteria, fungi, ciliates and viruses play in coral reef ecosystems, answering questions such as; ‘What do these organisms do in a healthy system?’ and ‘What happens when things go wrong?’ Highlighting the value of these unseen organisms and how they control the fate of entire ecosystems.
Part 1: Coral reefs and their main threats
Part 2: What are corals?
Part 3: What is coral bleaching?
Part 4: What are coral diseases?
Part 5: A novel approach to cure diseases
Part 6: Simple organisms, complex problems
Part 7: Questions and Answers
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