Stop Kissing the Coral!!!!

We know some of you have trouble getting dates, but....

http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/5473/coral-reefs-have-herpes

Long blamed on anthropogenic global warming, coral bleaching events are now being traced to viral pathogens, specifically a form of the herpes virus. I guess this is what they mean when they say people are loving nature to death….

Original article:

CORVALLIS: As corals continue to decline around the world, researchers are turning their attention to a possible cause that’s almost totally unexplored – viral disease.

New research has found that corals harbour many different viruses – particularly herpes – plus adenoviruses and other viral families that can cause human colds and gastrointestinal disease. In a paper recently published in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, scientists point out that coral declines are reaching crisis proportions but little has been done so far to explore viral disease as one of the mechanisms for this problem.

“Coral abundance in the Caribbean Sea has gone down about 80% in the past 30 to 40 years, and about one-third of the corals around the world are threatened with extinction,” said lead author Rebecca Vega-Thurber, an assistant professor of microbiology at Oregon State University.

“We’ve identified 22 kinds of emerging disease that affect corals, but still don’t know the pathogens that cause most of them,” she said. “Most researchers have looked only at bacteria. But we suspect viruses may play a role in this as well, and it’s important to learn more about what is causing this problem. Corals are the building blocks of the tropical seas.”

Coral viruses in herpes family

Vega-Thurber and colleagues are studying viral ‘metagenomics’ in corals, meaning the analysis of multiple genomes at the same time. It may help explain one of the underlying causes of coral decline, she said, and is one of the most comprehensive analyses yet done on the types of viruses in a marine animal. It may also shed light on the broader range of viruses that affect not only corals but many other animals, including humans.

One of the surprises from recent research was the predominance in corals of herpes viruses – similar but not identical to the herpes virus that can infect humans. Herpes viruses appear to constitute a majority of the viruses found in corals, and one experiment showed that herpes-like viral sequences were produced in coral tissues after acute episodes of stress.

“We were shocked to find that so many coral viruses were in the herpes family,” Vega-Thurber said. “But corals are one of the oldest animal life forms, evolving around 500 million years ago, and herpes is a very old family of viruses that can infect almost every kind of animal. Herpes and corals may have evolved together.”

Cause of coral decline

It’s not yet certain, the researchers said, whether the viruses being found on corals are actually causing diseases. “Just because you harbour a virus doesn’t mean you are getting sick from it,” Vega-Thurber said. “This is part of what we have to pin down with further research.”

Some of the possible causes of coral decline that have been identified so far include global warming that causes coral bleaching, loss of symbiotic algae that help nourish corals, pollution such as sewage runoff, and human-coral interactions.

A ‘mucus’ sometimes found on corals can harbour human-borne viruses, and levels of these viruses have been correlated with terrestrial human population density. “We have found that nutrient increases from pollution can cause increased levels of viral infection, as do warmer water and physical handling,” Vega-Thurber said. “Now we have to determine if those increases in infection cause actual diseases that are killing the coral.”

Corals are often a major component of marine ecosystems and biodiversity, especially in the tropics. They host thousands of species of fish and other animals. And whether or not viruses are implicated in coral disease, it may also be that they are passing diseases along to fish.

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36 thoughts on “Stop Kissing the Coral!!!!

  1. Hey, as long as it’s all our fault–rotten species that we are–I’m good with it.

    /

  2. PLus

    “Corals ‘Could Survive a More Acidic Ocean’

    ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2012) — Corals may be better placed to cope with the gradual acidification of the world’s oceans than previously thought — giving rise to hopes that coral reefs might escape climatic devastation.

    ——————————————————————————–

    See Also:

    Plants & Animals
    •Marine Biology
    •Fish
    •Sea Life

    Earth & Climate
    •Global Warming
    •Environmental Issues
    •Ecology

    Reference
    •Ocean acidification
    •Coral bleaching
    •Coral reef
    •Coral

    In new research published in the journal Nature Climate Change, an international scientific team has identified a powerful internal mechanism that could enable some corals and their symbiotic algae to counter the adverse impact of a more acidic ocean.

    As humans release ever-larger amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, besides warming the planet, the gas is also turning the world’s oceans more acidic — at rates thought to far exceed those seen during past major extinctions of life. This has prompted strong scientific interest in finding out which species are most vulnerable, and which can handle the changed conditions.

    In groundbreaking research, a team of scientists from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, at the University of Western Australia and France’s Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, has shown that some marine organisms that form calcium carbonate skeletons have an in-built mechanism to cope with ocean acidification — which others appear to lack.

    “The good news is that most corals appear to have this internal ability to buffer rising acidity of seawater and still form good, solid skeletons,” says Professor Malcolm McCulloch of CoECRS and UWA. “Marine organisms that form calcium carbonate skeletons generally produce it in one of two forms, known as aragonite and calcite.
    ……”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120401160101.htm

  3. common sense says:
    April 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm
    “[...]
    ““The good news is that most corals appear to have this internal ability to buffer rising acidity of seawater and still form good, solid skeletons,” says Professor Malcolm McCulloch of CoECRS and UWA. “”

    Wait! Is the Professor mad? He endangers his own species (or it’s source of energy – global warming research funding)!

    “The researchers conclude “Although our results indicate that up-regulation of pH at the site of calcification provides corals with enhanced resilience to the effects of ocean acidification, the overall health of coral reef systems is still largely dependent on the compounding effects of increasing thermal stress from global warming and [...]”

    Phew! Close call. His self-protection instincts have taken over.

  4. This is a very interesting story more so when you consider alot of the factors involved.

    1. The potential for medical breakthroughs in herps treatment.
    2. The fact that this could explain why coral is dying.

    This two factors however are out weighted by a more important factor.

    If this research is true and coral is dying to viral infection then global warming is not the only factor. This mean this research will never get funding because it may disprove global warming. Much like how bees could only be dying from cell phones, global warming, etc, etc, etc eco-terror propaganda.

    Its sad really you have the chance to benefit both humans and coral by doing this but they won’t see a dime.

  5. “…coral bleaching events are now being traced to viral pathogens, specifically a form of the herpes virus.”
    —————————
    But I thought herpes causes polyps.

  6. I bet Dumpster Muffin had something to do with this:

    http://www.rwongphoto.com/RW4633.html

    I wouldn’t be surprised if she and her tree-hugging friends didn’t spread the virus trying to save the corals by sitting on them in the same way they tried to save the trees at Berkeley. /sarc

  7. Just as a matter of interest, is there anything that ISN’T “reaching crisis proportions”? Anything that people want money to research, that is?

  8. …Meanwhile, a new IPCC report has concluded that corals also react badly to exploding dynamite – although marine scientists are uncertain whether it’s because the explosion warms the water around the corals. “Hey, it’s difficult to tell” – a scientist by the name of Dr Blofeld, said: …”ze problem is piecing together all ze little bits after we do a test explosion – it is something ve hope to pin down, once ve get ze research funds to buy a new nuclear-powered sub…”

  9. Most Cited Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology Articles
    Most cited articles published since 2007, extracted from SciVerse Scopus.
    Are infectious diseases really killing corals? Alternative interpretations of the experimental and ecological data

    Volume 346, Issues 1-2, June 2007, Pages 36-44
    Lesser, M.P. | Bythell, J.C. | Gates, R.D. | Johnstone, R.W. | Hoegh-Guldberg, O.

    Emerging infectious diseases are a worldwide problem and are believed to play a major role in coral reef degradation. The study of coral diseases is difficult but the use of culture-independent molecular techniques has been, and will continue to be, useful in a system where a limited number of visible signs are commonly used to define a “coral disease”. We propose that coral “diseases”, with rare exception, are opportunistic infections secondary to exposure to physiological stress (e.g. elevated temperature) that result in reduced host resistance and unchecked growth of bacteria normally benign and non-pathogenic. These bacteria are from the environment, the host, or the coral mucus layer and become opportunistic pathogens. While difficult and time consuming, we do not advocate abandoning the study of disease-causing pathogens in corals. However, these studies should include comprehensive efforts to better understand the relationship between coral diseases and environmental changes, largely anthropogenic in nature, occurring on coral reefs around the world. These environmental insults are the cause of the physiological stress that subsequently leads to coral mortality and morbidity by many mechanisms including overwhelming infections by opportunistic pathogens. © 2007.

  10. I would rather they spend a lot more money on researching the affects of all the human waste being dumped into the oceans near reefs or that have drift streams heading into reef systems. These reef systems have been through hundreds of thousands of years of warmer and colder climate and they are still here. duh.

  11. I have doubts. Is coral really declining, much less in danger, of extinction? Bleached coral isn’t dead, just changing tenants, usually. And populations follow the water temperatures, moving north when it gets warmer.

    I suspect sloppy and fudged base data, here, again, as usual.

  12. Coral impregnated underpants! For diverting viruses from more delicate areas.
    I would call them Barrier briefs

  13. Also you have to realise that the heat stress is likely to cause them to be susceptible to disease (sarc)

  14. All the alarmist scientists that went around the world kissing frogs almost destroyed the frog population, and not one of them turned into a prince or a princess. This plethora of overfunded reefamaniacs traveling to exotic climes are most likely spreading the herpes. Maybe they need to be quarantined and disinfected between expeditions.

    Think of all the new excuses no no no I have been faithful I caught herpes swimming on the reef.

  15. So it’s ok to love coral, but not be ‘in love’ with coral. Got it. Thanks for the head’s up.

  16. “We have found that nutrient increases from pollution can cause increased levels of viral infection, as do warmer water and physical handling,” Vega-Thurber said.

    Sounds similar to the amphibian?? decline when diseases were introduced via researchers boots and other equipment that became muddy.

    Slowly, but surely researchers are now carrying out science instead of assuming it’s global warming in order to get their funding through in a hurry. Yes warmer seas have a part to play but as noted above corals have been in decline before this recent period of the highest temperatures on the thermometer record. *Check out raw sewage into the sea.

  17. A ‘mucus’ sometimes found on corals can harbour human-borne viruses, and levels of these viruses have been correlated with terrestrial human population density.

    Could this be something like the death of amphibians that was repeatedly blamed on ‘global warming’ – and then was found to be due to a pathogen being spread by the same researchers who blamed global warming. So are the divers going to ‘research’ coral bleaching actually carriers spreading viral or bacterial infections between reefs?

    How many of these people disinfect their diving gear and tools after a dive?

  18. Andrew says:

    April 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    …Meanwhile, a new IPCC report has concluded that corals also react badly to exploding dynamite

    That’s a coincidence so do I!

  19. Not too surprising; Cosmo Magazine always has an article about herpes.

    Oh, CosmoS Magazine. Same thing, I guess.

  20. Living next to the GBR, we get the whole spectrum, from “the reef is dyingggg …” to “It’s doing ok”.
    There are concerns about runoff of nutrients from cane farming – doubtful if anything else is significant. The GBR has been there for around half a million years, current “build” around 6–8,000 years. Some concerns about increased shipping, eg bulk coal carriers, but if a molasses carrier cracked up on the reef that would be just as bad. Systems engineering studies at my former workplace (JCU) in the early 90’s found that ships were 35 times more likely to be involved in an incident if the pilot was on board. Hope that’s been addressed.
    The pH scare seems to have diminished. The reefs around Dobu Island (Trobriands) are ok and there are bubbles of co2 continually rising from the seabed, due to the volcanic nature of the area.
    A lot more broken coral on the beach in front of our place after Cyclone Yasi, but there’s always some being washed in.

  21. I knew it, I just knew it. Those unwashed hairy armpitted free love practicing hippies introduced STDs to the poor defenceless fragile coral.

    And I reckon those clown fish weren’t always clowning around. Somebody should check them for THC levels.

  22. Thank goodness it is only herpes!

    I was afraid that the coral had come down with clam-idia.

  23. The researchers conclude “….is still largely dependent on the compounding effects of increasing thermal stress from global warming and …”

    This would appear to be a compulsory paragraph for anyone wishing to get published in the scientific literature today.

    I wonder, do all scientists now already know they need to put it in? Or is it pointed out to them in the review process?

  24. In Q1 2010, we had unusually cold weather in Florida, AND THE gULF WATERS GOT DOWN TO 52 degress F, a temperature at which several species of fish and coral die of hypothermia, so there was a big increase in bleached coral down around Key West. One wonders if the coral caught cold and then succumbed to a viral infection.

  25. Martin Clark: ” Systems engineering studies at my former workplace (JCU) in the early 90′s found that ships were 35 times more likely to be involved in an incident if the pilot was on board.”

    Can we assume that the data were zeroed for where the navigation occurred? For example was the population of incidents limited to waters where pilots are required? Or waters where they are not required, with the waters where they are required excluded? There is some opportunity for slop here, ala “a very high percentage of plane crashes occur with a pilot on board.”

    This is not to broach the distribution of responsibility with a harbor pilot on board ship where the pilot has no responsibility for his guidance and the captain retains all responsibility, or in the Panama Canal for that matter.

  26. Jason Calley says:
    April 2, 2012 at 7:15 am
    “Thank goodness it is only herpes!
    I was afraid that the coral had come down with clam-idia.”

    Excellent Mr Calley!

    The rush to blame everything on global warming has gone way passed the point of calling it ridiculous.

    We all know how the great David Suzuki loves to tell us all how we should live our lives…maybe he should be worried about all the RAW SEWAGE Victoria BC pumps into the ocean…

    http://www.sanjuanjournal.com/news/101659093.html

    The head of British Columbia’s environmental agency on Wednesday approved a wastewater management strategy that calls for construction of a primary treatment facility near the city of Victoria and that will for the first time treat up to 40 billion liters of sewage a year before it is discharged into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

    As much as 34 million gallons of raw sewage is discharged each day into the marine waters separating Vancouver Island and Washington state, and the lack of wastewater treatment has been a hotly-debated and thorny issue on both sides of the border, said Barry Penner, head of B.C.’s Ministry of Environment. (gee could that be impacting native salmon runs Suzuki?)

    How many millions of tons of raw sewage we dumped into the oceans after the two big Tsunami’s that hit the western Pacific? Could that play a role? Or all the cruise ships and other large ocean going vessels…

    Grrr…

  27. AGW is obviously making the corals more vulnerable to disease. And, furthermore, since it’s happening to coral, it’s sure to affect our food supply too, so we’re all going to starve in 20 years or something like that. OMG!!

  28. If it’s proven to be disease, the warmist cult will simply say that gw is making the disease spread faster. But whatever the cause is, an 80% decline in corals is terrifying.

  29. to Richard:

    “If it’s proven to be disease, the warmist cult will simply say ”

    lol, of course they’ll blame it on global warming.

    The story above is a little bit self-serving though. While the above story is about viral infection, there has been a lot of work on bacterial infection of coral. They briefly mention this in the story above, but there has been significant progress in this area. Recent efforts to properly treat human waste water on islands near suffering coral reefs has resulted in unexpectedly quick recovery of the reefs. I see it as being similar to UHI in a few ways.

  30. Charlie A says:
    April 2, 2012 at 9:18 am
    The herpes virus is also the cause of tumors (fibropapillomas) in sea turtles. http://www.turtles.org/tumour.htm

    Sea Lions get it too…

    http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2009/06/ten_sea_lions_killed_near_bonn.html

    Could this be like some sort of bizzare “Al Gore” cooling effect? Possibly linked to places Paris Hilton has recently been swimming?

    I bet someone could get a federal grant or something to study this…

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