“Stressed out” corals thriving thanks to mangroves

by Frederique Mazerolle, McGill University
May 18, 2021

Tropical coral reefs are the most biodiverse underwater ecosystem, providing a home to more than a quarter of all marine species. No strangers to environmental stressors and the on-going impacts of climate change, the survival of corals has increasingly been under threat in recent years. A collective of researchers, including from McGill University, have analyzed how environmental factors influence the growth and health of corals and found that more species of corals are living in the mangrove forests than in nearby shallow reefs. This is a testament to coral adaptability, and the importance of ecological partnerships such as between corals and mangroves, for the resilience of these ecosystems in the wake of human-made environmental turmoil.

In a recent article published in Ecosphere, the team examined corals living under the canopies of mangroves and among their roots and hypothesized that mangroves may serve as a refuge from environmental stressors such as high solar intensity and warmer temperatures, both of which are present on adjacent shallow reefs.

Keep reading: https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/stressed-out-corals-thriving-thanks-mangroves-331113

Read the Ecosphere paper: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/ecs2.3413