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ScienceDaily (Mar. 28, 2012) — As corals continue to decline in abundance around the world, researchers are turning their attention to a possible cause that’s almost totally unexplored — viral disease.

The white tips on this coral are a reflection of "bleaching" and declining coral health. (Credit: Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

It appears the corals that form such important parts of marine ecosystems harbor many different viruses — particularly herpes. And although they don’t get runny noses or stomach upset, corals also are home to the adenoviruses and other viral families that can cause human colds and gastrointestinal disease.

In a research review published in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, scientists point out that coral declines are reaching crisis proportions but little has been done so far to explore viral disease as one of the mechanisms for this problem. Read the full article at the ScienceDaily