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  1. Coral reefs are declining worldwide primarily because of bleaching and subsequent mortality resulting from thermal stress. Currently, extensive efforts to engage in more holistic research and restoration endeavors have considerably expanded the techniques applied to examine coral samples. Despite such advances, coral bleaching and restoration studies are often conducted within a specific disciplinary focus, where specimens are collected, preserved, and archived in ways that are not always conducive to further downstream analyses by specialists in other disciplines. This approach may prevent the full utilization of unexpended specimens, leading to siloed research, duplicative efforts, unnecessary loss of additional corals to research endeavors, and overall increased costs. A recent US National Science Foundation-sponsored workshop set out to consolidate our collective knowledge across the disciplines of Omics, Physiology, and Microscopy and Imaging regarding the methods used for coral sample collection, preservation, and archiving. Here, we highlight knowledge gaps and propose some simple steps for collecting, preserving, and archiving coral-bleaching specimens that can increase the impact of individual coral bleaching and restoration studies, as well as foster additional analyses and future discoveries through collaboration. Rapid freezing of samples in liquid nitrogen or placing at −80 °C to −20 °C is optimal for most Omics and Physiology studies with a few exceptions; however, freezing samples removes the potential for many Microscopy and Imaging-based analyses due to the alteration of tissue integrity during freezing. For Microscopy and Imaging, samples are best stored in aldehydes. The use of sterile gloves and receptacles during collection supports the downstream analysis of host-associated bacterial and viral communities which are particularly germane to disease and restoration efforts. Across all disciplines, the use of aseptic techniques during collection, preservation, and archiving maximizes the research potential of coral specimens and allows for the greatest number of possible downstream analyses. 
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  3. Abstract

    Remote coral reefs are thought to be more resilient to climate change due to their isolation from local stressors like fishing and pollution. We tested this hypothesis by measuring the relationship between local human influence and coral community resilience. Surprisingly, we found no relationship between human influence and resistance to disturbance and some evidence that areas with greater human development may recover from disturbance faster than their more isolated counterparts. Our results suggest remote coral reefs are imperiled by climate change, like so many other geographically isolated ecosystems, and are unlikely to serve as effective biodiversity arks. Only drastic and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions will ensure coral survival. Our results also indicate that some reefs close to large human populations were relatively resilient. Focusing research and conservation resources on these more accessible locations has the potential to provide new insights and maximize conservation outcomes.

     
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    Mass bleaching events are predicted to occur annually later this century. Nevertheless, it remains unknown whether corals will be able to recover between annual bleaching events. Using a combined tank and field experiment, we simulated annual bleaching by exposing three Caribbean coral species ( Porites divaricata , Porites astreoides and Orbicella faveolata ) to elevated temperatures for 2.5 weeks in 2 consecutive years. The impact of annual bleaching stress on chlorophyll a , energy reserves, calcification, and tissue C and N isotopes was assessed immediately after the second bleaching and after both short- and long-term recovery on the reef (1.5 and 11 months, respectively). While P. divaricata and O. faveolata were able to recover from repeat bleaching within 1 year, P. astreoides experienced cumulative damage that prevented full recovery within this time frame, suggesting that repeat bleaching had diminished its recovery capacity. Specifically, P. astreoides was not able to recover protein and carbohydrate concentrations. As energy reserves promote bleaching resistance, failure to recover from annual bleaching within 1 year will likely result in the future demise of heat-sensitive coral species. 
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  9. Abstract The physiological response to individual and combined stressors of elevated temperature and p CO 2 were measured over a 24-day period in four Pacific corals and their respective symbionts (Acropora millepora/Symbiodinium C21a, Pocillopora damicornis/Symbiodinium C1c-d-t, Montipora monasteriata/Symbiodinium C15 and Turbinaria reniformis/Symbiodinium trenchii ). Multivariate analyses indicated that elevated temperature played a greater role in altering physiological response, with the greatest degree of change occurring within M. monasteriata and T. reniformis. Algal cellular volume, protein and lipid content all increased for M. monasteriata . Likewise, S. trenchii volume and protein content in T. reniformis also increased with temperature. Despite decreases in maximal photochemical efficiency, few changes in biochemical composition (i.e. lipids, proteins and carbohydrates) or cellular volume occurred at high temperature in the two thermally sensitive symbionts C21a and C1c-d-t . Intracellular carbonic anhydrase transcript abundance increased with temperature in A. millepora but not in P. damicornis , possibly reflecting differences in host mitigated carbon supply during thermal stress. Importantly, our results show that the host and symbiont response to climate change differs considerably across species and that greater physiological plasticity in response to elevated temperature may be an important strategy distinguishing thermally tolerant vs. thermally sensitive species. 
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