Enemy within

Coral reefs may have been hit by a virus

source: James Randerson
New Scientist October 13 2001 p18

A virus may have affected corals, causing them to be more vulnerable to warmer seas temperatures, according to researchers from Plymouth’s Marine Biological Association. They argue that this could explain why not all corals are affected by warmer sea temperatures. The virus may be found in symbiotic algae that provide energy for corals, through photosynthesis. A sea anemone, Anemonia viridis, also has symbiotic algae. They heated water in which this anenome lives, and a virus in these algae multiplied rapidly. It is not certain whether corals are affected in this way, but they are closely related to anemones.