Coral Reefs to be Topic of Lecture

By Arthur Page

Release Date: October 8, 2002

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The study of coral reefs will be the focus of a presentation by Mary Alice Coffroth on Oct. 16 that will be part of the College of Arts and Sciences Fall Lecture Series at the University at Buffalo.

Coffroth, associate professor of biological sciences, will speak on "The Future of Coral Reefs: How Identifying Little Players Can Answer Big Questions" at 7:30 p.m. in the Screening Room in the Center for the Arts on the UB North (Amherst) Campus. It will be free and open to the public.

Coffroth led an all-female research team that for 10 days in April lived and worked in an undersea laboratory deep under the surface of the ocean, studying the parentage of a coral reef off the coast of Key Largo, Fla.

Coral mortality due to natural and anthropogenic disturbances has led to increasing concern about the state of the world's coral reefs. Coffroth said that a major cause of this decline is the increased incidence of coral bleaching -- a loss of the microscopic algal symbionts that the coral rely upon.

During her lecture, Coffroth will discuss this global phenomenon affecting the world's reefs, as well as her research on the coral-algal symbiosis and the potential for reefs to recover from these massive die-offs.