|Collecting water samples|
by Tracey McDole
There are, however, some marine viruses that cause disease in reef macroorganisms. Did you know that corals get tumors, a growth anomaly that may be caused by viruses in the family Herpesviridae? Don’t get me wrong, in a healthy reef ecosystem, viruses and microbes play beneficial roles. The coral reef food web is structured so that energy and materials flow from the microbes to macrobes, and back again. Therefore, both viral and bacterial communities are essential components of any healthy reef system.
One of the biggest and most pressing questions that coral reef scientists are currently trying to understand is: How do the combined effects of pollution, overfishing, and climate change result in degraded coral reefs? One way to start is to determine if both groups of organisms (macrobes and microbes) function and interact differently on healthy versus degraded reef systems.
|Microorganisms vs. Macroorganisms|