Imaging technique offers a new way to monitor reef health
J.M. Caldwell et al/Scientific Reports 2017
Sickness makes some corals lose their glow.
Disease reduces a coral’s overall fluorescence even before any sign of the infection is visible to the naked eye, a new study finds. An imaging technique that illuminates the change could help with efforts to better monitor coral health, researchers report November 6 in Scientific Reports.
Many corals naturally produce fluorescent proteins that glow in a wavelength of light that human eyes can’t see in natural light. Previous studies have shown that heat stress and wounding, among others stressors, can affect coral fluorescence, but the new study is the first to look at the relationship between fluorescence and infectious disease.
Jamie Caldwell, a disease ecologist now at Stanford University, and colleagues used a technique called live-imaging laser scanning confocal microscopy to compare fluorescence in