New paper on symbiont shuffling in the Caribbean star coral
Ross Cunning
04
June
2015

New research on 'symbiont shuffling' shows why corals sometimes change their symbiotic algae partners. In this study, we found that corals are more likely to shift toward partnerships with heat-tolerant symbionts if they experience more severe heat stress followed by recovery in a warmer environment. This study places coral symbioses in the context of disturbance ecology to help elucidate the mechanisms controlling multi-partner interactions. Importantly, this work helps us understand when and how corals may become more heat tolerant, which will aid in predictions of coral reef responses to global climate change.


R. Cunning, R. N. Silverstein, A. C. Baker. Investigating the causes and consequences of symbiont shuffling in a multi-partner reef coral symbiosis under environmental change. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2015; 282 (1809): 20141725 DOI:  10.1098/rspb.2014.1725

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