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Innovative Techniques Provide New Means to Monitor Coral Reef Health

With coral reefs worldwide undergoing unprecedented stressors due to climate change and other human pressures, a large-scale application of innovative techniques shows promise for detecting the health condition of reefs.

The techniques, which look at microbes and dissolved metabolites – i.e., chemicals that are produced during metabolism –were broadly applied to coral reefs off Florida as a new means to examine reef features, with these techniques also having conservation applications, according to a journal article, “Microorganisms and dissolved metabolites distinguish Florida’s Coral Reef habitats,” published in PNAS Nexus and co-authored by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

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