Zooxanthellae, Corals and Symbiosis by Todd LaJeunesse | MACNA 2014
Even as humans, we are highly dependent on the bacteria that live in our guts. Coral Reef ecosystems are a prime and vivid example of the importance of symbiotic interactions. Simple animals in the phylum Cnidaria have developed close relationships with single-celled, yet complex, species of dinoflagellate, an algal group important to the ocean’s plankton and marine food webs.
These seemingly humble combinations are why coral reef ecosystems exist today; and why they are potentially endangered in the coming decades. As enthusiasts that grow, propagate, and trade in live coral come, learn more about these amazing mutualisms and how they function. Perhaps in doing so, raise your appreciation for them in ways previously unfathomable.