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Free Content A Theoretical Investigation Into the Influence of Sublethal Stresses on Coral-Bacterial Ecosystem Dynamics

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Sublethal exposures to pollutants can increase mucus secretion by corals and this in turn can lead to elevated bacterial levels and consequent damage to the coral. A basic model describing the salient features of the bacteria-coral mucus interaction is constructed. Estimation of the many parameters involved provides an opportunity to make a semi-quantitative comparison with experimental data. Qualitative analysis of an extended model shows how entrapment of bacteria in a mucus filament matrix might lead to an explosive increase in the bacterial population when stress exceeds a critical value. A succession of models is presented, from the simplest to more complex and inclusive models. This succession chronicles our thinking concerning the biology and microbial ecology of the coral surface and shows how model building can lead to a better understanding of the systems under consideration.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1982

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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