Did you know that coral reefs are like incredible underwater cities built by corals? They protect coastlines and provide homes for many marine species, including tiny algae that live inside the coral. These algae have a special deal with the coral – they share nutrients and give the coral its colorful beauty. But there’s trouble! Rising ocean temperatures from climate change stress the corals. This makes coral lose their colorful algae partners in a process called coral bleaching. It’s bad news for both the corals and the reefs.
We made a drug for the algae to help fight the harmful effects of stress. The algae are small, so we made ceria nanoparticles that the algae can easily absorb. This protected the algae from harm, even when seawater temperatures were warm!