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collage of various pictures showing researchers, seafans and corals



See photo gallery for sea fan 'Message in a Bottle.'
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July 24, 2013

The following is part five in a series on the NSF-NIH Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) Program.

Like all of us, corals get sick. They respond to pathogens (disease-causing microbes) and recover or die. But unlike us, they can't call a doctor for treatment.

Instead, help has arrived in the form of scientists who study the causes of the corals' disease, and the immune factors that might be important in their response and resistance.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), scientists Drew Harvell and Colleen Burge of Cornell University and their colleagues have developed a catalog of genes that, the researchers say, will allow us to better understand the immune systems of corals called sea fans.

The marine ecologists have trained their undersea eyes on a particular sea fan species, Gorgonia ventalina, or the purple sea fan, found in the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.   Read more

Article: National Science Foundation.