↓ Skip to main content

A multi-trait systems approach reveals a response cascade to bleaching in corals

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Biology, December 2017
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (93rd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (72nd percentile)

Mentioned by

51 tweeters
1 Facebook page


4 Dimensions

Readers on

51 Mendeley
A multi-trait systems approach reveals a response cascade to bleaching in corals
Published in
BMC Biology, December 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12915-017-0459-2
Pubmed ID

Stephanie G. Gardner, Jean-Baptiste Raina, Matthew R. Nitschke, Daniel A. Nielsen, Michael Stat, Cherie A. Motti, Peter J. Ralph, Katherina Petrou


Climate change causes the breakdown of the symbiotic relationships between reef-building corals and their photosynthetic symbionts (genus Symbiodinium), with thermal anomalies in 2015-2016 triggering the most widespread mass coral bleaching on record and unprecedented mortality on the Great Barrier Reef. Targeted studies using specific coral stress indicators have highlighted the complexity of the physiological processes occurring during thermal stress, but have been unable to provide a clear mechanistic understanding of coral bleaching. Here, we present an extensive multi-trait-based study in which we compare the thermal stress responses of two phylogenetically distinct and widely distributed coral species, Acropora millepora and Stylophora pistillata, integrating 14 individual stress indicators over time across a simulated thermal anomaly. We found that key stress responses were conserved across both taxa, with the loss of symbionts and the activation of antioxidant mechanisms occurring well before collapse of the physiological parameters, including gross oxygen production and chlorophyll a. Our study also revealed species-specific traits, including differences in the timing of antioxidant regulation, as well as drastic differences in the production of the sulfur compound dimethylsulfoniopropionate during bleaching. Indeed, the concentration of this antioxidant increased two-fold in A. millepora after the corals started to bleach, while it decreased 70% in S. pistillata. We identify a well-defined cascading response to thermal stress, demarking clear pathophysiological reactions conserved across the two species, which might be central to fully understanding the mechanisms triggering thermally induced coral bleaching. These results highlight that bleaching is a conserved mechanism, but specific adaptations linked to the coral's antioxidant capacity drive differences in the sensitivity and thus tolerance of each coral species to thermal stress.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 51 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 51 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 51 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 14 27%
Researcher 14 27%
Student > Master 7 14%
Student > Bachelor 7 14%
Unspecified 4 8%
Other 5 10%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 19 37%
Environmental Science 12 24%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 11 22%
Unspecified 6 12%
Social Sciences 2 4%
Other 1 2%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 30. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 04 October 2018.
All research outputs
of 13,344,686 outputs
Outputs from BMC Biology
of 1,178 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 386,950 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Biology
of 127 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,344,686 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,178 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 18.7. This one has done well, scoring higher than 86% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 386,950 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 127 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 72% of its contemporaries.