Today’s Solutions: October 24, 2021

The type of algae known as dinoflagellates are valuable for improving the health of corals in warming waters, and now, researchers from Rice University have discovered that they reproduce via sex, meaning that algae sex could be critical for the survival of coral reefs. 

The algae reproduce by either splitting in half or through sex, so researchers are working on breeding strains of dinoflagellate symbionts that better serve their coral partners. These symbionts help coral by converting sunlight into food. They also give corals their signature vibrant colors. While corals only reproduce once a year, dinoflagellates produce a new generation every couple of months. So focusing on algae, rather than coral, could actually be a more time-efficient way to boost the resiliency of corals.

The researchers observed corals in Mo’orea, French Polynesia and by using confocal microscopes, were able to identify sexual reproduction in the algae. As sexual reproduction involves DNA from both parents, it allows for more rapid genetic adaptation than divided offspring which just have the cloned DNA of a single parent.

“These efforts are ongoing to try to breed corals, symbionts, and any other partners to make the most stress-resistant colonies possible,” said marine biologist Adrienne Correa. “For coral symbionts, that means growing them under stressful conditions like high temperatures and then propagating the ones that manage to survive.”

Once they establish more resistant algae strains, the researchers plan to breed coral hosting the new symbionts and then seed those in natural environments where they will hopefully be more resistant to a changing climate.

Source study: Scientific Reports Direct evidence of sex and a hypothesis about meiosis in Symbiodiniaceae

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Algae wrapped in droplets improves efficiency of artificial photosynthesis

In our quest for the most sustainable, most renewable sources of energy, humanity continues to look to nature for inspiration. One of nature’s most efficient energy systems is photosynthesis, which is how plants convert sunlight, ... Read More

Evidence shows Vikings arrived in Americas nearly 500 years before Columbus

Researchers have known for a while that Vikings from Greenland founded the village of L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland around the turn of the millennium, but now, a study published in Nature has finally pinpointed ... Read More

Egypt’s State Council swears-in the nation’s first female judges

Egypt’s State Council was established in 1946 and is an independent judicial body that deals with administrative disputes, disciplinary cases, appeals, reviews draft laws, decisions, and contracts that involve the government or a government-run body. ... Read More

Is group or individual work more productive? Here’s what science says

Are you a group project person or do you prefer to fly solo? We all have our work preferences, but what does science say about teamwork and productivity? A new study conducted by Quartz aims ... Read More

Wildlife filmaker provides a unique insight into the daily lives of bees

You may have seen bees flying around your backyard or local park, but it can be difficult for the naked human eye to grasp the full complexity of the lives of these pollinators. During the ... Read More