Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Deep-reef coral hates the light, prefers the shade

17.10.2011
Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, second only to tropical rain forests.

Bird's nest coral (Seriatopora hystrix) is common throughout the Indo-Pacific and is able to live across a range of depths. However, there is little gene flow between the coral populations at each depth and even the algal endosymbionts (Symbiodinium), which provide energy for the corals to survive, are genetically different across habitats.

New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology used genetic and photosynthetic analyses to demonstrate that these genetic differences reflect adaptations to the different environmental conditions encountered at different depths.

A team of researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland looked at coral populations from three habitats on coral reefs: the sheltered back reef (Back Reef), the wave-exposed top of the reef slope (Upper Slope) and the dimly lit deeps (Deep Slope). Despite the fact that corals in the Deep Slope habitat only receive a fraction of the light available in shallow habitats (about 10 times less), the coral S. hystrix was found to be far more abundant at these depths and was also observed to grow faster.

Transplantation of coral fragments to different habitats did not alter the algae-host symbiosis. Dr. Sophie Dove explained, "The corals we looked at exhibited distinct physiological strategies - while normally corals are dependent on light for their energy requirements, the deep corals, appeared to have adapted to low light conditions by having an increased capacity to exploit nutrients and plankton."

Dr Pim Bongaerts, lead author of the paper, continued, "The different selective pressures across reef environments pose an ecological barrier to migration and further promote genetic divergence of these coral populations by limiting the extent of interbreeding. This case study of S. hystrix clearly shows how ecological processes of selection can play an important role in the diversification of corals."

Dr Hilary Glover
Scientific Press Officer, BioMed Central
Tel: 44-20-3192-2370
Email: hilary.glover@biomedcentral.com
Notes to Editors
1. Adaptive divergence in a scleractinian coral: physiological adaptation of Seriatopora hystrix to shallow and deep reef habitats
Pim Bongaerts, Cynthia Riginos, Kyra B Hay, Madeleine JH van Oppen, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and Sophie Dove

BMC Evolutionary Biology (in press)

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication.

2. BMC Evolutionary Biology is an Open Access, peer-reviewed online journal that considers articles on all aspects of molecular and non-molecular evolution of all organisms, as well as phylogenetics and palaeontology.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

Dr Hilary Glover | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>