Safety in Numbers? Not So for Corals
"The last 10 thousand years have been especially beneficial for corals. Acropora species, such as table coral, elkhorn coral and staghorn coral, were favored in competition due to their rapid growth. This advantageous rapid growth may have been attained in part by neglecting investment in few defenses against predation, hurricanes, or warm seawater. Acropora species have porous skeletons, extra thin tissue, and low concentrations of carbon and nitrogen in their tissues. The abundant corals have taken an easy road to living a rich and dominating life during the present interglacial period, but the payback comes when the climate becomes less hospitable.”
University of Hawaii (2013, November 15). Safety in numbers? Not so for corals. ScienceDaily.
Silly Acropora cut corners in Evolution class.
In a world-first, scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) have shown that tropical corals have the ability to fight back against acidifying oceans caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide.
While the threat of coral bleaching from higher sea-surface temperatures and direct human impacts still present serious risks to the long-term prospects for coral reefs, the research findings suggest that many corals have the ability to largely offset the effects of increasingly acidic oceans.
Researchers used a boron isotope technique to calculate the effects of the acidification process on coral growth rate and found that almost all coral species are able to reduce the pH of the seawater they take in
Water Colours - by Bo Mancao
The Coral Song - by AJ Jenkins
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the new soundtrack to my life. My work with the conservation project Green Fins is all about getting divers to help protect the reef, and reaching out to local communities to do the same. Whilst most divers and dive guides are fairly knowledgeable about the reef, I’ve met plenty of people, tourists and locals alike, who don’t know that coral is alive.
This is the soundtrack for all my future presentations. And the song that will be in my head for the rest of the week. And I don’t even mind.
Go ahead. Enjoy. Sing. Share.
Algal growth over dead coral prevents coral recruits from settling and re-establishing the coral reef. Algae ecosystems support less diversity of life. This year is predicted to be a bad year in the Asia-Pacific for Coral Bleaching so keep an eye out!
A recent study(freePDF) from Stanford University published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) considers how some reef building corals resist the stress of warmer waters that has caused coral bleaching around the world.
Using comparative genomics, researchers found that the heat tolerant corals have prepared for heat by switching on a set of 60 particular genes. Other coral species have also been found to switch on these genes but only after stress has already occurred. Resilient Samoan corals, however, have these genes switched on all of the time.
The results of the study show that some corals have the ability to withstand future increases in ocean temperature and highlight efforts to protect these resilient places.
Explosion of fish! Taken in Raja Ampat, Indonesia during the December 2012 Bluewater Photo / Underwater Photography Guide Raja Ampat photo trip by Scott Gietler.
El Nido, Philippines
Many corals are nocturnal feeding. During the day you can clearly see their calcium carbonate skeleton, tinted with the colours of the zooxanthellae in the retracted coral polyps.
In the case of mushroom coral, the polyps are solitary, not colonial, meaning that each round disc of coral is one animal. The mouth is located centrally and is surrounded by tentacles.
A crab with outstretched arms about 8 inches across, which are only observed living on soft coral. Image captured August 5, 2010 by the Little Hercules ROV at 704 meters depth on a new seamount mapped by Baruna Jaya IV during the INDEX SATAL 2010 Expedition.
Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010.