Biology and ecology of coral mucus release

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  2. Professor John Bythell
Author(s)Bythell JC, Wild C
Publication type Review
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
ISSN (print)0022-0981
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There has been an exponential increase in coral mucus research over the last 5 years, attracting attention from coral biologists and reef ecologists. The most active area has been the study of microbial structure and function associated with mucus, and very recent findings have increased our understanding of the roles of microbes in coral health and disease, and also on the ecosystem level. Here we overview some of the latest findings, but also identify scientific gaps. A priority area for future research is understanding the structure and dynamics of the surface mucus layer in relation to microbial community development. Environmental factors including climate change impacts affect the release of mucus/organic matter by the coral engineer and may therefore also have profound effects on entire reef ecosystem function, so it is vital that we also gain a better understanding of these responses.
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