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Tidal heat pulses on a reef trigger a fine-tuned transcriptional response in corals to maintain homeostasis

heat map of coral colony over time
Lupita J. Ruiz-Jones and Stephen R. Palumbi
Mar 14 2017

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For reef-building corals, extreme stress exposure can result in loss of endosymbionts, leaving colonies bleached. However, corals in some habitats are commonly exposed to natural cycles of sub-bleaching stress, often leading to higher stress tolerance. We monitored transcription in the tabletop coral Acropora hyacinthus daily for 17 days over a strong tidal cycle that included extreme temperature spikes, and show that increases in temperature above 30.5°C triggered a strong transcriptional response.