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Ilsa Kuffner, Research Marine Biologist from St. Petersburg Coastal & Marine Science Center, is participating in a National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network to make experimental design recommendations to advance understanding of coral bleaching.
Coral bleaching is a response to higher than normal ocean temperatures that results in corals turning white, and then dying, because they lose the symbiotic algae that they depend on for nutrition. Temperature stress is widely acknowledged as the number one stress factor responsible for coral mortality across the globe. Impacts of coral deaths include loss of marine biodiversity, less productive fisheries, and decreased protection of coastlines from storm waves. Kuffner was among a group of 27 coral-reef research experts from around the world that was invited to participate in the first workshop, held at the School of Earth Science, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA, from May 22 to 24. It was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Coordination Network (RCN) to make experimental design recommendations to advance understanding of coral bleaching. The goal of the Coral Bleaching RCN is to work with the broader coral research community to develop protocol recommendations over the course of three workshops and to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative team formation. These goals will be addressed through four activity nodes: workshops, cyberseminars, student and Early Career Training, and RCN activity dissemination.
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