Coral in shallow beach branching upward with blue fish in front
Corals Upend Longstanding Idea About Genetic Inheritance
Most animals can’t pass on mutations that arise spontaneously throughout their lives—but Elkhorn corals can.
Corals Upend Longstanding Idea About Genetic Inheritance
Corals Upend Longstanding Idea About Genetic Inheritance

Most animals can’t pass on mutations that arise spontaneously throughout their lives—but Elkhorn corals can.

Most animals can’t pass on mutations that arise spontaneously throughout their lives—but Elkhorn corals can.

coral reefs
Oysters’ shells were made into concrete and other materials used in construction during the Industrial Revolution.
Scientists Use Sound to Attract Baby Oysters Back to the Reef
Ian Rose | Aug 15, 2022 | 5 min read
Meet the team trying to restore mollusk populations with the help of underwater speakers.
A school of juvenile spiny chromis (Acanthochromis polycanthus)
Human-Made Noise Disrupts Fish Parenting
Christie Wilcox | May 23, 2022 | 3 min read
The roar of nearby boat engines alters how fish care for and protect their young, resulting in fewer successful nests and smaller offspring, a study finds.
spikes of white coral underwater
Great Barrier Reef Suffers Sixth Mass Bleaching in Two Decades
Bianca Nogrady | May 14, 2022 | 2 min read
A survey showed that 91 percent of the reef experienced bleaching despite this year’s cooler, wetter conditions associated with the La Niña weather pattern.
sunlit coral reef
Corals and Sea Anemones Turn Sunscreen into Toxins—Understanding How Could Help Save Coral Reefs
Djordje Vuckovic and Bill Mitch, The Conversation | May 6, 2022 | 5+ min read
Researchers have long suspected that an ingredient in sunscreen called oxybenzone was harming corals, but no one knew how. A new study shows how corals turn oxybenzone into a sunlight-activated toxin.
A tubifer cardinalfish
Genome Spotlight: Tubifer cardinalfish (Siphamia tubifer)
Christie Wilcox | Apr 28, 2022 | 3 min read
These tiny reef fish harbor luminous bacteria, and the chromosome-level assembly of the species’ genome may facilitate the duo’s use as a vertebrate model for symbiosis.
Illustration showing coral health outcomes in response to bleaching events
Infographic: How Corals Remember the Past, Prepare for the Future
Amanda Heidt | Feb 14, 2022 | 1 min read
Scientists have documented examples of corals “remembering” prior exposure to heat stress in the field, and are now simulating these phenomena in the lab to better understand their cellular and molecular underpinnings.
Conceptual illustration of coral
Environmental Memory: How Corals Are Adjusting to Warmer Waters
Amanda Heidt | Feb 14, 2022 | 5+ min read
Corals that previously experienced heat stress respond better the next time around. Researchers are trying to figure out how, and hope to one day take advantage of the phenomenon to improve coral restoration efforts. 
octopus blue
What Scientists Learned by Putting Octopuses in MRI Machines
Chloe Tenn | Jan 20, 2022 | 3 min read
The size and complexity of cephalopod brain structures differ depending on the habitats the creatures occupy, a study finds.
ABOVE: A pair of Labroides dimidiatus cleaner fish cleaning a puffer fish
Cleaner Fish Alter Behavior if Partners Can See Them “Cheating”
Chloe Tenn | Oct 7, 2021 | 4 min read
A study of feeding behavior suggests the fish feed differently in front of their partners—a behavioral feature also found in primates.
corals in water with fish
First Immortal Cell Line Cultured for Reef-Building Corals
Amanda Heidt | Jul 1, 2021 | 3 min read
Lab-grown cells from the reef-building coral Acropora tenuis provide new opportunities to study bleaching, symbioses, and biomineralization.
Infographic: How Scientists Are Creating Coral Cell Lines
Amanda Heidt | Jul 1, 2021 | 1 min read
Stable, long-term cell lines will enable scientists to study everything from coral bleaching to biomineralization, knowledge that may help protect corals from ongoing climate change.
Close-up shot of smooth cauliflower polyps
Comprehensive Atlas of Reef-Building Coral’s Cells Created
Christie Wilcox | May 13, 2021 | 5 min read
Single-cell RNA sequencing helps to catalog the dozens of cell types present in a stony coral, including its elusive immune cells.
A microscope image of a dinoflagellate.
Dinoflagellate Genome Structure Unlike Any Other Known
Amanda Heidt | May 10, 2021 | 5 min read
The transcription of DNA drives the remarkably tidy organization of chromosomes in the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium microadriaticum.
Certain Color Varieties of a Coral Are More Protected from Bleaching
Lisa Winter | Feb 25, 2021 | 2 min read
In yellow-green and purple versions of the reef-building Acropora tenuis, the genes that code for particular fluorescent and other colorful proteins become more active in the summer, protecting symbiotic algae from thermal stress and resisting bleaching.
coral reef, Great barrier reef, parachute science, research
Q&A: Parachute Science in Coral Reef Research
Asher Jones | Feb 24, 2021 | 5+ min read
Scientists who study the marine ecosystems have frequently failed to involve local researchers in projects, a study finds.
Coral Restorers
The Scientist Staff | Feb 1, 2021 | 1 min read
See outplanted coral spawning in the wild thanks to the efforts of researchers at the Mote Marine Lab.
Slideshow: Restoring Coral Reefs
Hanna R. Koch, Erinn Muller, and Michael P. Crosby | Feb 1, 2021 | 2 min read
By growing mountainous star corals in the lab and outplanting them to dying reefs, we were able to grow sexually mature corals that could help reef recovery.
Restored Corals Spawn Hope for Reefs Worldwide
Hanna R. Koch, Erinn Muller, and Michael P. Crosby | Feb 1, 2021 | 5+ min read
Novel technologies establish a new paradigm for global coral reef restoration, with in situ spawning of mature, environmentally resilient corals in five years instead of decades.
Infographic: How to Accelerate the Growth of Restored Corals
Hanna R. Koch, Erinn Muller, and Michael P. Crosby | Feb 1, 2021 | 5+ min read
Our novel technique involves planting several small fragments of slow-growing corals onto dead coral heads. The fragments eventually fuse, forming a large colony in a fraction of the time that it takes wild corals to build reefs.