Probiotic Bacteria Can Help Coral Reefs Keep Their Color
According to a statement released by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, scientists “have been able to prove for the first time, in a laboratory setting, that feeding corals beneficial probiotics increase their overall health and improve their chance of survival during heat stress,” IFLScience.com reports.
“People may be surprised to find out that just like us, corals rely on a host of good bacteria to help keep the health and, just like us, the balance between good and bad bacteria is often disrupted in times of stress,” Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said. “Probiotics have been widely and successfully used to improve both human and animal health, however, their use in marine ecosystems has been largely unexplored until now.”
The discovery was made when an international team of researchers treated numerous species of coral with certain types of beneficial microorganisms. “Time and time again the corals that had received the probiotics were in better health than those that had not,” lead scientists Professor Raquel Peixoto said.
Researchers are now hopeful that the use of these beneficial bacteria could help protect reefs by preventing future mass bleaching events. Researchers are continuing to run experiments to determine which types of bacteria are most beneficial for different species of coral.