News Round-Up

Researchers find diverse communities comprise bacterial mats threatening coral reefs


Researchers are learning more about the brightly coloured bacterial mats threatening the ecological health of coral reefs worldwide. In new research released this month, a Florida State University team revealed that these mats are more complex than scientists previously knew, opening the door for many questions about how to best protect reef ecosystems in the future.

FSU Assistant Professor of Biological Science Sophie McCoy and doctoral student Ethan Cissell published their findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

“By targeting the full biological diversity of these mat communities on reefs, and by studying the transcriptome, which gives us information about which biochemical processes are being used by those organisms, we’re opening the door to a more complete understanding of the entire ecological role of mats,” McCoy said. MORE

Header image: Doctoral student Ethan Cissell researched coral reefs in Bonaire. Credit: Ethan Cissell.