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Symbiodinium is a genus of algae known as dinoflagellates. This group has evolved alongside hundreds of other animals to form complex symbiotic relationships. Hundreds of coral, sponges, and other animals can be a home for this algae, and in return the algae provides energy from photosynthesis to its host, in many cases becoming the host primary source of energy. The majority of corals in shallow reefs rely on Symbiodinium relationships for energy. When corals become stressed, which can be caused by disease, changes in light, water quality, or temperature, as well as many other things, the vital relationship with this algae can deteriorate, or fail altogether. In such an event, the host coral can release all of its algae in events known as “bleaching”. Corals then can eventually take in a more suitable algae, but this actions is extremely taxing and can lead to further disease or death of the animal. As climate has changed, these bleaching events have become more and more widespread.

Florida International University’s Images lab has actively worked to further understand the variations in survivability of different groups of Symbiodinium, as well as how each group interacts with host animals. They aim to potentially engineer stronger strains of algae that can further help corals become more resilient in the wild. 10% of every purchase of the Images tee will go directly towards this organization.

Printed on an olive 6oz standard fit short sleeved cotton tee.