Marine Biology: Are Algae—Not Coral—Reefs' Master Builders?

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Science  02 Feb 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5249, pp. 597
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5249.597a


Reef-building corals have poured the foundations for spectacular underwater edifices that house one quarter of all marine species. Scientists have long thought that, like many powerful architects, corals exploited lowly helpers, in this case using symbiotic algae to boost the rate at which they lay down carbonate to form these reefs. But new evidence on page 637 indicates that, far from being lowly workers, the algae might actually be in charge.