Coral Morphologic Joins the Mission Blue Sylvia Earle Alliance

Coral Morphologic is proud to announce a partnership with Mission Blue, an alliance of conservationists founded by Dr. Sylvia Earle, with the shared goal of exploring the ocean and engendering empathy for Earth’s marine life. By joining the Mission Blue network, we look forward to helping advance Mission Blue’s goals, including increasing marine protected areas (Hope Spots) around the globe 20% by 2020, developing sustainable fisheries, and reducing oceanic pollution. Coral Morphologic is committed to educating the public and building new paradigms around the value of the ocean and its essential role as Earth’s life support system. Please explore Mission Blue’s website and watch the eponymous 2015 documentary about Dr. Earle “Mission Blue” on Netflix. Tags: Coral Morphologic, Mission Blue, Sylvia Earle, Sylvia Earle Alliance This entry was posted on Monday, July 25th, 2016 at 3:14 pm and is filed under Research. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

New Species of Coral Discovered on PortMiami’s Seawall Contains a Powerful Anti-Cancer Drug

These Palythoa sp. zoanthids contain a remarkably potent chemical, palytoxin, proven to selectively destroy cancerous cells. Several years ago we were excited to report that our survey of zoanthid soft corals from South Florida had resulted in the identification of several undescribed species. Today, we are even more excited to report that one of these Palythoa species zoanthids, collected off the PortMiami seawall, contains an extremely powerful compound with proven anti-cancer properties. Coral Biome, our partners in Europe, have officially received a patent for the chemical’s extraction and application in the treatment of cancer and other serious diseases. From Coral Biome’s inception in 2011 in Marseilles, France, we have been assisting them in the collection, identification, and aquaculture of soft corals that produce medically-valuable chemicals, a process known as ‘bioprospecting’. The chemical Coral Biome isolated, palytoxin, has long been known to be one of the most deadly non-protein compounds in the natural world, however it is only recently that its remarkable anti-cancer properties have come to light. As it turns out, the Palythoa aff. ‘clavata’ we found encrusting Miami’s aquatic infrastructure produces significantly higher concentrations of palytoxin than any species previously known to science. Palytoxin is such an extremely complex molecule to produce in a lab that it has been referred to as ‘the Mt. Everest of organic synthesis’ by chemists. Therefore, production of this chemical for pharmaceutical use will depend on Coral Biome’s patented extraction method from these aquacultured, super-potent Miami zoanthids. Palytoxin kills cells by disrupting the potassium/sodium ion channels, but according to Coral Biome’s CEO Frederic Gault, “it is a million times more toxic to cancer cells than to healthy ones, which is a huge area for potential”. This discovery highlights just how important coral reef biodiversity is to humans, and our pursuit for new medicines and biotechnology. This new species of zoanthid, along with our previously reported hybrid ‘super coral’, highlight once again just how much there is still left to discover right in our own backyard. If a potential breakthrough cure for cancer can be found right here within PortMiami, how many more unidentified species and cures are left to be discovered elsewhere amongst the planet’s thousands of far flung reefs? [embedded content] Palythoa sp. zoanthids feeding on plankton. The coral reef is an exceptionally good place to prospect for medicinally active compounds, particularly within the soft corals and sponges. While stony corals are largely protected from predators by their limestone skeletons, soft corals and sponges frequently rely on chemicals for their defense mechanisms. In addition to making them distasteful, soft corals will also release growth-inhibiting chemicals into the surrounding water to prevent other organisms from encroaching onto their real estate. And because water is such an ideal medium in which to transfer chemical signals, the coral reef will likely exceed the rainforests as a potential source for future medicinal discoveries. Thankfully, a revolution in coral aquaculture means that we can now obtain these medicinal compounds sustainably, without negatively impacting the wild reefs. Identifying and using medicinal compounds from the coral reef is not a new phenomenon. From the 1950’s until the 1970’s, the Caribbean gorgonian soft coral Plexaura homomalla was the primary source for extracting the chemical prostaglandin, which is used to induce childbirth clinically. Pseudopterosin A, extracted from the Bahamian gorgonian Antillogorgia elisabethae is used by Estee Lauder to make an exceptionally expensive anti-aging skin creams. But it’s not just the organic chemicals that interest biomedical researchers; stony corals are now being grown in labs to serve as human bone graft substitutes, while the stinging nematocyst cells of corals are serving as a model for developing needle-less vaccine delivery systems. The insertion of coral fluorescent proteins into the genome of other organisms has revolutionized the field of genetics, earning its developers a Nobel Prize in 2008. The recent understanding by scientists of how a coral’s microbiome serves its host has resulted in a paradigm shift in the way we now perceive microbes, human health, and even evolution. The coral reef may well be the most important living model we have for the betterment of human health, making their preservation, with all their untold biological secrets, of paramount importance to us all. And while the reefs around the world head into a third consecutive year for bleaching, never has it been more urgent to catalog and clone the global biodiversity of coral for the collective benefit of us all.   Tags: Cancer, Coral Biome, Coral Morphologic, Palytoxin This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 at 11:44 am and is filed under Research. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Top 10 Traits of a Successful Reefkeeper

Surprisingly, the “right stuff” that is required to succeed in this hobby can’t be bought at a storeAs marine aquarium hobbyists, we can buy a lot of things to make our experience better and easier, but when it comes to long-term reefkeeping success, the “right stuff” doesn’t come from a store. In addition to a genuine love for marine life, the following 10 traits will serve you well on your journey to a thriving reef system: 1. Attention to detailReefkeeping, like flying an airplane, is basically a never-ending series of small corrections. You must be sufficiently detail-oriented to observe the very subtle changes or parameter shifts that can lead to major problems if left unaddressed, such as that first bubble algae vesicle or Aiptasia polyp, calcium and alkalinity levels just beginning to trend out of balance, or a fish that isn’t behaving quite right.. 2. Willingness to learn There’s a tremendous learning curve to this hobby just to grasp the basics, but the learning mustn’t end with the fundamentals. Successful reefkeepers continually absorb new information—from aquarium literature, trusted online sources, fellow hobbyists, etc.—so they can improve their husbandry techniques and better meet the needs of the animals in their care. Of course, being open to learning also means making an effort to learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat them over and over again at the expense of your livestock

Adopt a Coral Genome for $25!

It’s the season for giving, and what better way to show you care about the health of our planet’s coral reef ecosystems than by directly helping to fund research aimed at bettering our understanding of these increasingly imperiled...
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