Rutgers University Research Offers Hope for Coral Reef Existence

In *All by Ag is America

Occupying less than one percent of the ocean floor, coral reefs are home to more than twenty-five percent of marine life. However, they also happen to be highly endangered and in dire need of preservation. The Word Wildlife Foundation (WWF) approximates that 60 percent of the world’s coral reefs could be destroyed within the next 30 years because of three bleaching events in the past.  Therefore, without urgent action to address climate change, pollution, overfishing and other threats, now, these beautiful and life-sustaining organisms could disappear forever.

Luckily, researcher Debashish Bhattacharya, from Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers University, is focused on how coral deals with environmental stress. The hope is that these findings can help advise protections for the population of coral reefs in years to come. Working with collaborators from the University of Hawaii, Bhattacharya has been able to attain samples of both resistant and vulnerable populations of coral that endured a bleaching event. To access these results, Bhattacharya will investigate and compare the genome of the animal, the algae on it, and the bacteria that makes up the microbiome of both areas. Bhattacharya is also interested in transplanting the coral to unfamiliar places and figuring out how they deal with stress as well as identifying the most resilient corals that can be used as source populations. For now, however, Bhattacharya will work with current research and look for improvements to hopefully restore the current coral reef population.

If you would like to read more about this research, read more here.

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