Rehabiliting Coral Reefs Amanda Thompson June / July 2014 Biological Research BLI Session 1 Coral reefs cover less than .02% of our oceans 25% of all marine species live in coral reefs 58% of coral reefs are in danger due to human activity 60% of coral reefs will disappear in the next 30 years 1200 square miles of coral reefs is destroyed annually 450 million people live within 60 kilometers of a coral reef Provides jobs Food Protects beaches, coastal cities, and communities Potential treatment for disease Healthy Coral In temperatures between 64-86º F Polyps responsible for making coral reef’s limestone or calcium carbonate structure When polyps die the soft tissue decays but the calcium carbonate structure remains Several types of algae bind the coral segments together Zooxanthellae lives in each coral polyp Can reproduce asexually or sexually Nematocystused to help ward off enemies / capture prey Zooxanthellae Photosynthetic algae Lives in the tissues of coral Mutualistic relationship Produces glucose, glycerol, and amino acids coral then makes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, & calcium carbonate Coral color Survives off of waste & sunlight Provides 90% of the energy needed to grow & reproduce Before: After: Coral Bleaching Abnormal temperature causes coral to become “stressed” The symbiotic relationship between coral and zooxanthellae is severed Coral expels algae and causes the coral to appear white The coral then begins to starve without the zooxanthellae If temperatures return to normal then the zooxanthellae will be reabsorbed and the coral can survive Causes increased susceptibility to disease Genomics Breakthroughs in polygenetic systematics Further molecular studies of coral biology Molecular mechanics of stress and resistance Molecular machinery of mutualism Microarrays would become available to monitor the expression of genes Farming Coral Reefs Scientists take tiny fragments of coral and grow them to a bigger size in a lab Then using underwater glue the coral is cemented into the environment and left to grow This should cause the population of coral to increase Selective breeding is used to plant the strongest and most resilient coral possible Gene Therapy Research Roseobacteriales cells that transfer DNA at high frequencies to bacterioplankton Bacteria that produces gene transfer units has been sequenced & can assist in quick adaptation Roseobacteriales begin a chain reaction and results in an increased colonization rate for corals A specific set of genes can be activated in some types of coral to help the coral acclimatize The next step is to research how to manipulate the gene If Coral Reef Depletion Continues… Medicinal uses of coral cannot be researched and utilized Populations of marine organisms will decrease drastically Economic instability Global issues will continue to worsen and go on to affect other precious ecosystems “Our ideas, like the ocean, must be expansive” Works Cited "Coral Bleaching Goes from Bad to Worse." Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group, 19 Nov. 2010. Web. 11 July 2014. "Coral Genomes Could Aid Reef Conservation." Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group, 24 July 2011. Web. 11 July 2014. "Coral Reef Genes « Academy Research « Science Today." Science Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2014. "The Experiment: Using Gene Therapy to Save Coral Reefs ‘Stressed’ by Climate Change." PlanetSave. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2014. "Genetic Engineers and Conservation Biologists: Scenes From a First Date." Cool Green Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2014. "Genetics for Saving Coral Reefs from Climate Change." - Crop Biotech Update ( 10/30/2013 ). N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2014. "Micklem Lab." Micklem Lab. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2014. Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group, n.d. Web. 11 July 2014. "OA." OA. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2014. "OceanChallenge - Home." OceanChallenge - Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2014. Putnam, H. M., A. B. Mayfield, T. Y. Fan, C. S. Chen, and R. D. Gates. "The Physiological and Molecular Responses of Larvae from the Reef-building Coral Pocillopora Damicornis Exposed to Near-future Increases in Temperature and PCO2." Marine Biology 160.8 (2013): 2157-173. Web. "Researchers Share Surprising Discovery About Coral Reef Ecology." Hawaii News. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2014. "Synthetic Biology: Applications and Ethics." Marine Science Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2014. "What Is Coral Bleaching?" What Is Coral Bleaching? N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2014.