Coral reefs host millions of bacteria, revealing Earth’s hidden biodiversity

Thursday, June 1, 2023 - 10:03 in Biology & Nature

Coral reefs are hot spots for more than fish. Fish and corals in reefs across the Pacific Ocean may harbor nearly 3 million varieties of bacteria, researchers report June 1 in Nature Communications. That means scientists are vastly underestimating Earth’s microbiome, microbiologist Pierre Galand of Sorbonne University in Paris said at a May 31 news conference. The new count of bacteria living in the Pacific Ocean’s coral reefs alone falls within current estimates for the total microbial diversity of Earth, suggesting that there exponentially more bacteria living on the planet than previously thought. Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, and microbes are key for keeping the captivating creatures that live there healthy. Bacteria can help corals get the nutrients they need to survive or guard against disease. A dose of probiotics may offer protection from deadly heat stress (SN: 8/13/21). But the biodiversity of these reef-dwelling microbes is unclear. Most...

Read the whole article on

More from

Latest Science Newsletter

Get the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!

Check out our next project, Biology.Net