As the Rhode Island legislature considers designating the Northern Star Coral an official state emblem, researchers are finding that studying this local creature’s recovery from a laboratory-induced stressor could help better understand how to protect endangered tropical corals. The study found that those corals with algal symbionts – organisms that are embedded within the coral’s tissue and are required by tropical corals to survive – recovered their mucus microbiomes more consistently and more quickly. The study also identified six bacterial taxa that played a prominent role in reassembling the coral back to its healthy microbiome. With thermal bleaching and disease posing major threats to tropical corals, this research, along with other work on tropical corals, “provides a major step toward identifying the microbiome’s roles in maintaining coral resilience,” the paper notes. “What we found here is translatable to tropical corals which are faced with different stressors, such as warming water, disease, and pollution.