Good Bacteria Key to Coral Reef Survival

Picture of a Coral Reef

A direct correlation has been found between sustained coral reef health and the presence of “good bacteria”. Scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University have been investigating how healthy corals interact with their environment particularly in times of stress such as elevated water temperatures that can cause bleaching.

"Healthy corals interact with complex communities of beneficial microbes or 'good bacteria'. It is very likely that these microorganisms play a pivotal role in the capacity of coral to recover from bouts of bleaching caused by rising temperatures." Says Dr. Tracy Ainsworth who led the study.

"Facilitating coral survival and promoting coral recovery are growing areas of research for coral reef scientists," says co-author Dr. Ruth Gates from Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawai'i. "To do this we need to explore and understand the bacteria that help keep corals and coral reefs healthy."

"Corals rely on good bacteria but crucially we don't yet understand these microbes well enough to know how they influence coral survival."

Much like how our health can be impacted when changes occur to our gastrointestinal bio communities, changes to a corals bio community could affect their ability to withstand and recover from further stress.

You can read more about the study here