Bleaching, first observed in the 1980s, is increasing. Reefs are a vital ecosystem, providing shelter to 25% of all marine life. Studies are underway worldwide to gather data on the variables that cause bleaching, and developing strategies to mitigate the death of corals from bleaching. Using the resources of the Oklahoma Aquarium, this research utilizes controlled coral populations in conditions controlled more rigorously than in the field.
By testing fluoroprotein emissions after exposure to novel variables, we hope to identify a stress marker prior to bleaching.
Identifying a correlation between fluorescence and rate of re-colonization of symbiodinium would fill a significant gap in the literature, and assist in identifying corals for re-seeding.