Just like us, coral reefs have microbiomes that keep them healthy. Researchers, like our Featured Scientist, Colin Howe, study the microbiomes of coral reefs. They aim to identify microbes on specific reefs where they can discover how corals’ microbes help them become more resilient in the face of human-caused climate change and pollution.
Some scientists believe that by giving corals a ‘microbiome boost’ they may better survive the effects of bleaching. Ideally, we will reduce carbon emissions but, in the meantime, we may be able to aid the health of corals sooner. Dr. Raquel Peixoto says, “we’re hopeful that we can buy corals some time by using beneficial microorganisms for corals (or BMCs) and providing a ‘medicine’ to help them better cope with shifting environmental pressures and adapt to a changing world.”
Thus far, research has been conducted in a lab. Conducting research in the natural environment of corals will better inform how to give them a ‘boost’. That is why Colin’s work is so important.
Read more about animal microbiomes.