Diagnostic tools that can detect and report stress markers in corals are in dire need. However, these devices must be cheap, accurate, accessible, and easily deployable in the field if they are to be widely used, particularly in remote or underserved communities.
This team from Rutgers University has identified a variety of protein biomarkers that are highly correlated with thermal stress and are prime targets for the development of diagnostic tools. They are using these markers as the basis for developing field deployable stress detectors. The first-generation instrument, which will initially be “shoebox” sized, will rely on a panel (2 targets) of antibody-based sensors that cross-react with coral stress protein biomarkers, allowing the researchers to assess changes in coral health that occur prior to bleaching.
Porites compressa corals at low tide outside the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
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