Coral bleaching occurs when corals are stressed by changes in environmental conditions, such as increased water temperatures. This stress causes the corals to expel the algae living in their tissues, turning them white or pale. Without the algae, the corals lose their main source of food and become more susceptible to disease and death.
CSUN marine biologist Peter Edmunds said three decades research chronicling the life history of the coral reefs off the Caribbean island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands indicates surviving coral alone cannot keep reefs alive, which has implications for coral reefs around the world. Photo courtesy of Peter Edmunds.
Edmunds, who teaches in CSUN’s College of Science and Mathematics, said the data he has collected over the past three decades off St. John provide information about what is happening in the marine communities supported by coral reefs — not just off St. John, but around the world — as well as an indication of how well those communities will survive the continuing impact of climate change.
Some copepods, diminutive crustaceans with an outsized place in the aquatic food web, can evolve fast enough to survive in the face of rapid climate change, according to new research that addresses a longstanding question in the field of genetics.