Saturday, March 31, 2012

Coral decline linked to virus

  Those who know me are aware that I spent a great deal of time in Florida. lIke most folk who live in the sunshine state develop a love for water sport, I was not different, I spent a good deal of my time in Florida in the ocean. So when ai came across this very disturbing article I just need to share. just another example as to how man is destroying the planet. Scientists have long been concerned about the decline of the world’s coral, and the fragile ecosystems that develop around them. There are a number of reasons for this decline — global warming, sewage runoff, human tampering, decline in algae populations among them — but new research is pointing to another possible culprit. And it’s one that humans are all too familiar with, the herpes virus. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology reviews the research of Rebecca Vega-Thurber, an assistant professor of microbiology at Oregon State University (OSU). Vega-Thurber points out that, while scientists have long studied the effects of bacteria on coral reefs, viruses are a very logical culprit as well. Her research uncovered that most of the viruses found in coral are herpes – quite similar to the ones found in humans. In a university press release, Vega-Thurber said, “We were shocked to find that so many coral viruses were in the herpes family… 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.” Though the results were certainly unexpected, it has yet to be determined if the preponderance of herpes in coral is actually causing diseases. However, as Vega-Thurber notes, “We have found that nutrient increases from pollution can cause increased levels of viral infection, as do warmer water and physical handling… Now we have to determine if those increases in infection cause actual diseases that are killing the coral.” So sad to discover this information. If ever given the opportunity to visit a coral reef, please do so. It is one of the most magical experiences one could ever have. When planning your Eureka Springs vacation give the Angel at Rose Hall a call,your Eureka Springs Bed and Breakfast and your Eureka Springs Weddings Chapel, the best place for Eureka Springs Lodging and Eureka Springs wedding

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