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.
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.
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.
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.