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Coral genetics

University marine science senior studies DNA of coral and algae

Nov. 24, 2014--Coral reefs are an important ecosystem for marine plants, fish and other organisms. Despite making up less than one percent of the ocean environment, they shelter approximately 25 percent of marine species, protect shorelines and support the fishing industry.

Yet as water temperatures rise and pH levels fall in response to climate change, the future of coral reefs remains uncertain.

University of Delaware senior Danielle Dodge believes that analyzing the unique genetic fingerprints of algae living inside of corals could be integral to uncovering the future of coral reefs.

Dodge, an environmental science major in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, is characterizing algae living inside coral samples from the western Pacific island of Palau and the Caribbean island Curaçao to understand how algae and coral are responding to climate change and ocean acidification.

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