Researchers examined particulate organic matter and how it affects declining coral reefs in Hawaii

September 04, 2019

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"For the first time, a team of scientists that includes three Texas A&M University researchers have found that microscopic oceanic organisms are important for coral reef growth and sustaining these vital ecosystems.

The team, which includes Texas A&M’s Kathryn Shamberger, assistant professor, and former Ph.D. student Andrea Kealoha, both from the Department of Oceanography, and Brendan Roark, associate professor in the Department of Geography, have had their work published in Geophysical Research Letters, part of the American Geophysical Union. Other collaborators are from the University of California Irvine, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.

The researchers examined Hawaii’s Kāneʻohe Bay barrier reef and microscopic particles called particulate organic matter, or POM, which includes phytoplankton. Their results suggest that POM from the open ocean helps provide energy for a coral reef ecosystem to grow." Continue reading.