NYUAD and University of Southampton Scientists Make Surprising Discovery

Coral reef in the Arabian Gulf off Abu Dhabi.

As reported in The National, a team of scientists from NYU Abu Dhabi and the University of Southampton in the UK have discovered surprising results during a study to identify the molecular mechanisms behind Gulf corals' resistance to high water temperatures.

Formerly thought to belong to a group known as "clade D" — which is tolerant to high water temperatures — the predominant strains of algae living on the sampled Gulf coral were "clade C," which, The National explained, "is common in corals around the world" but "not usually found in corals exposed to high levels of heat stress." As NYUAD Assistant Professor of Biology John Burt said, "What we found was that clade D was virtually non-existent in corals in the reefs of Abu Dhabi. Nobody, worldwide, would have expected this."

These results, which were recently published in the scientific journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, could lead to important discoveries about the ability of coral to survive in the world's warming waters.

Click below to read the article in its entirety.

Arabian Gulf may hold key to coral survival (The National)