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科学美国人60秒:珊瑚可以遗传共生适应气候变暖

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Corals Can Inherit Symbiotic Adaptations to Warming

珊瑚可以遗传共生适应气候变暖

A marine heatwave in 2016 killed off a full third of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world. "It's terrible watching your favorite ecosystems slowly die."Carly Kenkel is a marine biologist at the University of Southern California who studied that coral bleaching event. Bleaching occurs when the waters around corals become too cold, or too salty, or too hot—but mostly, too hot. And then, the symbiotic algae that live inside corals—which are photosynthetic food factories—abandon the corals. Which causes the corals to die.

2016年的一场海洋热浪杀死了澳大利亚三分之一的大堡礁,这是世界上最大的珊瑚礁系统。“看着你最喜欢的生态系统慢慢死去是很可怕的。”卡莉·肯克尔是南加州大学的海洋生物学家,她研究了珊瑚白化事件。当珊瑚周围的海水变得太冷、太咸或太热时,就会发生漂白现象——但大多数情况下,都是太热了。然后,生活在珊瑚体内的共生藻类——它们是进行光合作用的食物工厂——抛弃了珊瑚,导致珊瑚死亡。

"Because they're losing their nutritional source, so they're essentially starving to death." But coral can house multiple species of algae—some more heat tolerant than others. So sometimes, in the face of stress, the hardier algae proliferate. That change offsets the damage caused by the exodus of the more sensitive species… a process called "shuffling."

“因为珊瑚失去了营养来源,所以基本上是饿死了。”但是珊瑚可以容纳多种藻类,其中一些比其他的更耐热。因此,有时,面对压力,更顽强的藻类会繁殖。这一变化抵消了更为敏感的物种大批离去所造成的破坏,这一过程被称为“洗牌”。

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Kenkel and her colleagues studied shuffling in corals affected by the 2016 bleaching event, on the Great Barrier Reef. And they found that adult corals can actually pass those reshuffled algal residents along to their offspring, in their eggs—pointing to a possible way successive generations of coral could adapt to warmer waters.

肯克尔和同事研究了2016年大堡礁白化事件影响下的珊瑚移动。他们发现,成年珊瑚实际上可以把这些经过重组的藻类居民传给他们的后代,在他们的卵里——这表明了一种可能的方式,即连续几代的珊瑚可以适应更温暖的水域。

"If your mom can kind of prime you for the environment that you might be experiencing, that presumably would improve your fitness." The details are in the journal Scientific Reports.

“如果你的妈妈能让你可能正在经历的环境有所准备,那可能会提高你的健康水平。”详细消息发表在《科学报告》杂志上。

So can this help corals beat back bleaching? "The pace of climate change and the frequency and intensity of these stress events is such that I don't think this is enough."So in the face of so many threats, even this trick may fail to provide relief for the reef.

那么,这能帮助珊瑚击退白化吗?“气候变化速度之快、这些压力事件的频率和强度如此之大,我认为这还不够。”因此,面对如此多的威胁,即便是这种办法也可能无法缓解珊瑚礁的压力。

Corals Can Inherit Symbiotic Adaptations to Warming

A marine heatwave in 2016 killed off a full third of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world. "It's terrible watching your favorite ecosystems slowly die."Carly Kenkel is a marine biologist at the University of Southern California who studied that coral bleaching event. Bleaching occurs when the waters around corals become too cold, or too salty, or too hot—but mostly, too hot. And then, the symbiotic algae that live inside corals—which are photosynthetic food factories—abandon the corals. Which causes the corals to die.

"Because they're losing their nutritional source, so they're essentially starving to death." But coral can house multiple species of algae—some more heat tolerant than others. So sometimes, in the face of stress, the hardier algae proliferate. That change offsets the damage caused by the exodus of the more sensitive species… a process called "shuffling."

Kenkel and her colleagues studied shuffling in corals affected by the 2016 bleaching event, on the Great Barrier Reef. And they found that adult corals can actually pass those reshuffled algal residents along to their offspring, in their eggs—pointing to a possible way successive generations of coral could adapt to warmer waters.

"If your mom can kind of prime you for the environment that you might be experiencing, that presumably would improve your fitness." The details are in the journal Scientific Reports.

So can this help corals beat back bleaching? "The pace of climate change and the frequency and intensity of these stress events is such that I don't think this is enough."So in the face of so many threats, even this trick may fail to provide relief for the reef.


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