Coral bleaching: thermal adaptation in reef coral symbionts

Nature. 2004 Aug 12;430(7001):742. doi: 10.1038/430742a.


Many corals bleach as a result of increased seawater temperature, which causes them to lose their vital symbiotic algae (Symbiodinium spp.) - unless these symbioses are able to adapt to global warming, bleaching threatens coral reefs worldwide. Here I show that some corals have adapted to higher temperatures, at least in part, by hosting specifically adapted Symbiodinium. If other coral species can host these or similar Symbiodinium taxa, they might adapt to warmer habitats relatively easily.

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Anthozoa / physiology*
  • Color
  • Eukaryota / physiology*
  • Greenhouse Effect
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Seawater
  • Symbiosis*
  • Temperature*