delware environmental institute

UDaily: Corals and climate - For corals adjusting to climate change, it's survival of fattest and most flexible

UDaily: Corals and climate  - For corals adjusting to climate change, it's survival of fattest and most flexible

The future health of the world’s coral reefs and the animals that depend on them relies in part on the ability of one tiny symbiotic sea creature to get fat — and to be flexible about the type of algae with which it cooperates.

In the first study of its kind, scientists at the University of Delaware and Ohio State University discovered that corals — tiny reef-forming animals that live symbiotically with algae — are better able to recover from yearly bouts of heat stress, called “bleaching,” when they keep large energy reserves — mostly as fat — socked away in their cells.