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Coral Reef Roundup

April 3, 2009

Scientists are using microchips to help protect the world’s corals.


Saving coral reefs. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

For the past decade, coral reef fish have been declining at the rate of between 3 and 6 percent per year. This according to a new study in the journal Current Biology. The declines were seen in big game fish as well as tiny fish. They suspect the decline is due to overfishing the big fish for dinner tables, over collecting the small fish for aquariums, and the general decline in the health of the corals themselves.

In related news, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a microchip that can detect the presence of 9000 different microbes in fluid. Scientists are using the chip to study the bacteria and fungi that live on healthy corals and sick ones. Knowing the difference will help scientists monitor and protect the corals. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.