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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Acropora millepora colony thriving under extreme low pH, low oxygen and highly variable temperatures of a Great Barrier Reef mangrove lagoon. Photo: Emma Camp

Camp EF, Edmondson J, Doheny A, Rumney J, Grima AJ, Huete A, Suggett DJ


Mangrove lagoons of the Great Barrier Reef support coral populations persisting under extreme environmental conditions


Rapid degradation of the world’s coral reefs from anthropogenic impacts has accelerated the need to understand coral resilience and identify environments housing naturally stress-tolerant populations. Camp and co-workers have identified for the first time, two mangrove lagoons on the Great Barrier Reef housing 34 coral species thriving in extreme conditions of low pH, low oxygen, and highly variable temperature. Using ecological, physiological and molecular approaches, their study demonstrates how coral physiological plasticity—in part through flexibility in association with different endosymbionts (Symbiodiniaceae)—supports survival in these lagoons. Prevalence of corals within these environmental extremes increasingly challenge our understanding of the nature and extent for coral stress resilience, and highlights the need to study such environments to resolve stress-tolerance mechanisms.


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