Cellular processes of bleaching in the Mediterranean coral Oculina patagonica
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Annual bleaching of Oculina patagonica on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline has been reported since 1993, although the cellular mechanisms underlying the bleaching have not yet been investigated. This survey examined 48 coral colonies of O. patagonica (bleached and unbleached) from various sites along the Israeli coast. Histopathological investigations of bleached lesions revealed a loss of endosymbionts, and an apparent in situ degradation of the endosymbionts. In situ end labelling of bleaching lesions did not provide evidence of apoptotic cell death. Electron microscopy of bleaching lesions also demonstrated an apparent in situ degradation and no evidence of apoptotic cell death of the host.
KeywordsIn situ degradation Coral bleaching Apoptosis Histology
The authors would like to thank Professor Eugene Rosenberg, Professor Yossi Loya and Dr Esti Kramasky-Winter for help with this project. The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the GEF Coral Reef Targeted Research Program provided financial support.
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