Recovery Ability of Thermally Stressed Captive Coral Anthelia spp., as measured by Dinoflagellate Density
Coral reefs are quickly becoming endangered due to mass bleaching events. Implicated in this are warming ocean temperatures. The rising temperatures put stress on the symbiotic relationship between coral and dinoflagellates, which often causes the zooxanthellae to be expelled, eventually leading to coral death. The recovery ability of corals that have been exposed to heat stress remains a relatively small area of research. The goal of this study is to determine the recovery ability of Anthelia spp. inhabited by clade C zooxanthellae after being exposed to heat stress. Over a nine-week period, dinoflagellate densities of the corals will be calculated as an indicator of coral health and recovery. Temperatures of the coral tanks will start at 28ºC and reach a maximum of 32ºC before being gradually lowered. Dinoflagellate density will be examined twice per week using a compound microscopy and a maceration method.
Expanding the knowledge of the recovery ability of soft coral may be vital to continuing the existence of these species.
Department: Biological Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ross Shaw
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