About this Research Topic
Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse and economically important ecosystems on the planet, providing several ecosystem services that are vital to humans. However, the health of corals worldwide is seriously threatened by a multitude of factors. Biotic stressors, such as predation outbreaks and epizootic diseases, and abiotic factors, including abnormally elevated and low sea temperatures, ocean acidification, high UV radiations, changes in salinity, are increasing the occurrence of local and mass coral bleaching events. Additionally, anthropogenic activities such as industrial pollution, coastal development, nutrient input, and recreational activities are leading to further reef degradation and mortality around the world.
In an ecosystem that is being increasingly affected by all these stressors, it is imperative to better understand and elucidate the stress responses, especially for sessile species such as corals that cannot migrate to new environmental optima and are directly exposed to the surrounding environmental conditions. These efforts would be essential in designing conservation and restoration strategies.
Corals have developed diverse mechanisms to withstand environmental stressors, such as physiological compensations, cellular acclamatory pathways and molecular mechanisms for tolerance. In particular, since the earliest steps of an organism’s response to any environmental stress occur at the cellular level, a useful diagnostic tool is the analysis of the expression of cellular and molecular biomarkers that reflect changes in cellular structural integrity, as well as in functional cellular pathways and performance. Hierarchically, the coral’s physiology is the nexus between the organism and the stressor, playing a paramount role in determining their tolerance and resilience to stressors.
This Research Topic focuses on the cellular and physiological processes involved in the stress response and acclimation to short or long-term biotic and abiotic stresses in both scleractinia and octocoral species. Experiments performed in the field or in controlled aquaria systems, as well as in situ assessment of physiological responses, are welcomed. Major emphasis is placed on the effects of environmental factors, such as extreme temperature events, altered pH environments, altered salinity events, and pollutants in the natural environment and the coral capacity to adapt or acclimatize. Related studies in the format of Original Research Articles are suggested.
Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
- cell stress molecular biomarkers in corals
- antioxidant enzymes activity
- changes in proteins and/or gene expression in corals subjected to stressors (e.g heat-shock response, antioxidant, calcification, carbon/nitrogen metabolism, etc.)
-‘omics’ of corals altered by environmental/anthropogenic stresses
- xenobiotic detoxification pathways and metal homeostasis pathways in corals exposed to pollutants
- physiological and metabolic changes in corals subjected to environmental/anthropogenic stresses
- molecular signaling mechanisms and pathways of corals under stresses
- immune response mechanisms of corals
- acclimatization and adaptation processes in response to environmental/anthropogenic
- photophysiological responses of corals to environmental/anthropogenic stress.
The Guest Editors of this collection encourage interested individuals or groups to submit an abstract to this Research Topic by 30 April 2023. However, please know that abstract submission is not mandatory before sending a manuscript to this Research Topic and that the abstracts do not have to coincide with the final abstract of the manuscripts.
Topic editor Craig Downs is the Co-Founder of MarineSafe and the Executive Director of the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic subject.
We would like to acknowledge Dr. Yohan Didier Louis and Dr. Walter Dellisanti who acted as a Topic Coordinators and contributed to the preparation of this Research Topic.
Keywords: physiology, Cell stress, biomarkers, corals, environmental stress, pollutants
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.