Global Warming Causes Outbreak of Rare Algae in Caribbean Corals

Scientists take advantage of ‘experiment of nature’ to discover new insights into coral bleaching

“A rare opportunity has allowed a team of scientists to evaluate corals–and the essential, photosynthetic algae that live inside their cells–before, during, and after a period in 2005 when global warming caused sea-surface temperatures in the Caribbean to rise.

“The team, led by Penn State biologist Todd LaJeunesse, found that a rare species of algae that’s tolerant of stressful environmental conditions proliferated in corals at a time when more sensitive algae that usually dwell within the corals were being expelled.

“The results will be published in the online version of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B on September 9, 2009.”