Nature calls on the Reef


Reef fish have pooped on coral since time immemorial. While it’s a normal part of the coral reef ecosystem, a recent study out of UC Santa Barbara suggests that changing environmental conditions could be throwing this dynamic off kilter. The findings, which appear in Frontiers in Microbiology(link is external), document how climate change can alter ecological relationships.

While conducting research in the lagoon on Mo’orea, French Polynesia, authors Leïla Ezzat(link is external) and Deron Burkepile(link is external) noticed the fish droppings on the coral. The scientists could easily have overlooked what is a routine occurrence on the reef, but they were curious what effect this might have when combined with rising ocean temperatures.

News Date: 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021