Deep skeletal refugia for zoox

McCarty and Peters McCarty_and_Peters at
Mon Sep 18 21:44:11 EDT 2000

Dear All,

I have followed the coral-list discussion of the possibility that coral
tissue fragments survive deep in the skeleton to repopulate a damaged reef
area.  It seems to me that histological examination using light microscopy
could be a helpful tool in conjunction with physiological and molecular
studies of the animal and symbiotic algae.

A portion of "apparently denuded" skeleton could be fixed in a
formaldehyde-based solution, then decalcified.  The decal solution could be
filtered to retrieve all material (which can include boring algae, sponges,
and other organisms) and carefully processed for paraffin or plastic
embedding, sectioning, and staining.  If live coral tissue is present, it
should be possible to detect it with microscopy, as well as to determine
its condition, whether the cells are multiplying, and how, in fact, the
tissue recovers with time.  Otherwise, one must rely on subjective
observations of the "denuded" skeletal material.

I would be interested in collaborating with U.S.-based researchers on this
or providing advice to others who might undertake such studies.

Esther Peters, Ph.D.
Tetra Tech, Inc., and George Mason University

More information about the Coral-list-old mailing list