The coral releases bundles of eggs and sperm for spawning into the water column. After cross-fertilization, the coral larvae develop from the cross-fertilized eggs and then take up their important algal symbionts for nutrient exchange (credit: Patrick Buerger).
A team of scientists has successfully produced in a laboratory setting a coral that is more resistant to increased seawater temperatures.
Corals with increased heat tolerance have the potential to reduce the impact of reef bleaching from marine heat waves, which are becoming more common under climate change.
“Coral reefs are in decline worldwide,” CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform (SynBio FSP) science lead Dr Patrick Buerger said.
“Climate change has reduced coral cover, and surviving corals are under increasing pressure as water temperatures rise and the frequency and severity of coral bleaching events increase.”
The team made the coral more tolerant to temperature-induced bleaching by bolstering the heat tolerance of its microalgal symbionts – tiny cells of algae that live inside the coral tissue.
“Our novel approach strengthens the heat resistance of coral by manipulating its microalgae, which is a key factor in the coral’s heat tolerance,” Dr Buerger said.
The team isolated the microalgae from coral and cultured them in the specialist symbiont lab at AIMS. Using a technique called “directed evolution”, they then exposed the cultured microalgae to increasingly warmer temperatures over a period of four years.
This assisted them to adapt and survive hotter conditions.
“Once the microalgae were reintroduced into coral larvae, the newly established coral-algal symbiosis was more heat tolerant compared to the original one,” Dr Buerger said.
The microalgae were exposed to temperatures that are comparable to the ocean temperatures during current summer marine heat waves causing coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.
The researchers then unveiled some of the mechanisms responsible for the enhanced coral bleaching tolerance.
“We found that the heat tolerant microalgae are better at photosynthesis and improve the heat response of the coral animal,” Professor Madeleine van Oppen, of AIMS and the University of Melbourne, said.
“These exciting findings show that the microalgae and the coral are in direct communication with each other.”
The next step is to further test the algal strains in adult colonies across a range of coral species.
“This breakthrough provides a promising and novel tool to increase the heat tolerance of corals and is a great win for Australian science,” SynBio FSP Director Associate Professor Claudia Vickers said.
This research was conducted by CSIRO in partnership with AIMS and the University of Melbourne.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Directed Evolution of Novel Biocatalystson February 18, 2021 at 11:43 am
Paul Thomas from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will discuss how he used single cell and spatial transcriptomics to discover the underlying mechanism of an inflammatory immune response in the ...
- People Are Key to the Digital Evolution of Biopharmaon February 17, 2021 at 8:05 am
Staff with experience will also play a role in helping industry maintain its digital momentum, according to Johan Rockberg, PhD, associate professor in antibody engineering and directed evolution ...
- Machine-learning how to create better AAV gene delivery vehicleson February 10, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Currently used methods, including "directed evolution" strategies that fast-track the evolution of a protein in laboratory conditions, only can create a limited diversity of capsids with most of ...
- Cryptic genetic variation accelerates evolution by opening access to diverse adaptive peakson February 3, 2021 at 4:00 pm
It has thus been difficult to determine how novelties arise. Zheng et al. allowed bacterial populations to accumulate mutations and then used directed evolution to evolve green fluorescent protein ...
- In Vivo–Directed Evolution of a New Adeno-Associated Virus for Therapeutic Outer Retinal Gene Delivery from the Vitreouson February 3, 2021 at 4:00 pm
To address the need for broadly applicable gene delivery approaches, we implemented in vivo–directed evolution to engineer AAV variants that deliver the gene cargo to the outer retina after injection ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- The Australian Institute of Marine Science conducted a detailed monitoring program of reefson March 3, 2021 at 11:20 am
Coral reefs off the Capricorn Coast have avoided widespread mortality and have bounced back from a 2020 bleaching event.
- Coral reefs bounce back from mass bleaching eventon March 3, 2021 at 6:29 am
Coral reefs off the Capricorn Coast have avoided widespread mortality and have bounced back from a 2020 bleaching event. These are the latest findings of the Australian Institute of Marine Science ...
- University of Western Australia: New smart ocean buoys bolster fight against marine heatwaveon March 3, 2021 at 4:21 am
New high-tech smart buoys are being deployed along the Western Australian coast to provide real-time monitoring of a developing marine heatwave due to La Niña conditions.The deployment of the smart bu ...
- What's happening to the most remote coral reefs on Earth?on March 2, 2021 at 12:33 am
In the middle of the Indian Ocean lies some of the last coral reef wilderness on Earth. The Chagos Archipelago, a collection of atolls, including Earth's largest—the Great Chagos Bank—is home to reefs ...
- Southern reefs recover from bleachingon March 1, 2021 at 8:58 pm
Under the right conditions, corals can recover from bleaching events. This is the case for multiple reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef, ...