Tropical reef corals are ecologically important examples of mutualistic symbioses whose success is defined by the interwoven biologies of their symbiotic partners. These associations are exquisitely regulated, yet the equilibrium is sensitive to environmental disturbances, which cause a breakdown in symbiotic communication, loss of algae from the host, concomitant paling of coral coloration known as coral bleaching, and, if the conditions persist, death of the coral. Faced with the prospect of catastrophic coral mortality associated with global warming and related environmental shifts, researchers have focused their efforts on coral bleaching; although significant progress has been made in this area, understanding of the basic biology of these associations remains poor. Here we discuss several issues that have potentially contributed to this knowledge gap and conclude that without a sound understanding of the basic biology of these important symbioses, it will be very difficult to elucidate the mechanisms that drive coral bleaching.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 53 • No. 10