Cape Cod’s only native shallow-water hard coral, Astrangia poculata is studied by MBL scientists to better understand the role of symbionts and temperature in coral skeleton formation. MBL scientists are also interested in how these corals can withstand a wide range of temperatures when most tropical corals are stressed by only a few degrees temperature change. Because of their clear tissues, they are also used to image critical events like bleaching to elucidate the actual mechanism of the process as well as associated changes in physiology or biochemistry.
- It can be found from the Caribbean all the way to its northern-most limit in Woods Hole and is New England’s only native shallow-water hard coral.
- Astrangia poculata can survive extended “bleaching events,” which kills most other species of coral.
- It is the only coral that can withstand temperatures below freezing.
(ID Card Photo Credit: Frank Fan, STAB high school student | Equipment: Axiocam ERc 5c; Zeiss Stemi 508)
More about Astrangia and the MBL
Microscope Allows Gentle, Continuous Imaging of Light-Sensitive Corals | MBL.edu
Cape Cod Corals | MBL SciShoots
Researchers Study Cape Cod Corals | NBC10 Boston
Coral Researcher Loretta Roberson Joins Marine Biological Laboratory | MBL.edu
Laissue, P.P., Roberson, L., Gu, Y. et al. (2020) Long-term imaging of the photosensitive, reef-building coral Acropora muricata using light-sheet illumination. Sci Rep. doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-67144-w
Dimond, J., Carrington, E. (2008) Symbiosis regulation in a facultatively symbiotic temperate coral: zooxanthellae division and expulsion. Coral Reefs. doi.org/10.1007/s00338-008-0363-x
Dimond J, Carrington E (2007) Temporal variation in the symbiosis and growth of the temperate scleractinian coral Astrangia poculata. Mar Ecol Prog Ser doi.org/10.3354/meps07050
While bilaterian animals have a distinct front, back, top, and bottom, non-bilaterian organisms lack that symmetry. Non-bilaterian animals include sponges, jellyfish, corals, comb jellies, sea anemones, and placazoa (simple, free-floating multicellular marine organisms). Learn more
Meet the Other Ecdysozoan Organisms
What is MBL March Madness?
Based on the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament, during MBL March Madness, popular MBL organisms face off for your votes. YOU have the opportunity to decide what organism is crowned victorious by voting for your favorite organisms in a series of head-to-head match-ups. Voting will take place on the MBL social media channels from March 29 – April 7.
Learn more and download a bracket at mbl.edu/march-madness