Corals are keystone species for reef and marine ecosystems, but coral bleaching due to climate change and ocean warming is killing them. A new open access study led by researchers at UNC Charlotte and the University of California, Riverside aims to shed light on how to reverse the damage and save corals.
The new study finds that although photosynthesis by algae is a key part of the symbiotic relationship, it is not required to initiate symbiosis.
Tingting Xiang, an assistant professor of biological sciences at UNC Charlotte, and Robert Jinkerson, an assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering at UCR, led the research team. The open-access paper, “Cnidarian-Symbiodiniaceae symbiosis establishment is independent of photosynthesis,” is published in Current Biology.