Beneficial roles of microorganisms in the coral reef ecosystem
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Coral reef biodiversity has declined over the past few decades and despite recent significant scientific interest in reefs in light of noticeable effects of climate change on this fragile habitat there is still much undiscovered about the true diversity of the symbiont community. There is also much to ascertain about underlying holobiont mechanisms relating to beneficial properties resident bacteria possess to help their hosts defend themselves from pathogenic xenobacteria or how symbionts provide the holobiont and other reef organisms with nutrition by utilising the carbon and nitrogen cycles. These are some of the questions addressed in this literature review. It is concluded that research has built up a large quantity of data about bacterial diversity and functions but information is still lacking about archaea and viruses. It is also concluded that projects always open up the way for new research as the complexity of the ecosystem expands the more knowledge we gain about it, demonstrating how much we have still to discover if science is to aid declining reefs in future.
Laming, K. (2010) 'Beneficial roles of microorganisms in the coral reef ecosystem', The Plymouth Student Scientist, p. 289-299.