[Coral-List] Immunity and the coral crisis

Caroline Palmer carolinepalmer28 at googlemail.com
Sat Jul 14 02:31:48 EDT 2018

Dear Coral List, 

A recent article, "Immunity and the coral crisis” is an Open Access Commentary in Nature’s Communications Biology, found here: https://rdcu.be/2Irn <https://rdcu.be/2Irn>  and DOI: 10.1038/s42003-018-0097-4  

In the article I combine two immunological theories to propose how the coral host necessarily exists with a dynamic and diverse array of associated organisms as a holobiont. I discuss the role of immunity in maintaining and reestablishing holobiont health, and how it depends on physiological trade-offs operating under evolutionary constraints. I propose a hypothesis of coral susceptibility that uses variable Damage Thresholds to explain the range of tolerance and resistance we observe among corals, and of the same coral through time. Under this framework I hypothetically compare immune activity of a susceptible and tolerant coral during a perturbation, highlighting caution in interpreting short term stress experiments. I expand the damage threshold hypothesis to explain how holobiont immune memory of sublethal perturbations may enable an increase in tolerance, though at a cost. 
I wrote this Comment because we are in a coral health crisis and we have a lot to learn about coral health. I am fully aware that climate change is the main threat to coral reefs and that globally we need to cut carbon emissions. I am hoping to stimulate forward-thinking discussions and research to promote targeted and effective reef conservation and restoration.

I hope you enjoy it!  


Dr Caroline Palmer
Visiting Researcher
University of Plymouth
School of Biological and Marine Sciences
Drake Circus
caroline.palmer at plymouth.ac.uk <mailto:caroline.palmer at plymouth.ac.uk> 

Twitter: @CVPPalmer
Academic Website: https://bit.ly/2NBU1PP <https://bit.ly/2NBU1PP> 
Orcid: 0000-0002-5903-995X

Project website: www.seekingsurvivors.org <http://www.seekingsurvivors.org/>
Twitter: @seekingsurvivor

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