When most people envision coral, they typically think of shallow-water reef-building corals found along beaches and tropical nearshore habitats.
These “typical” corals are dependent upon photosynthetic algae (also known as Symbiodinium or zooxanthellae) found in their tissues to obtain nutrients to live off of. In deeper less known waters, closely related black corals were considered to be void of these algae because of the light shortage to support photosynthesis.
In fact, all black corals were considered to lack Symbiodinium (algae), because they are typically found at great depths where light levels are very low. Black corals are of substantial cultural and economic importance in Hawai‘i. Some species are harvested commercially for the precious coral jewelry industry in deep waters off Maui, and black coral is considered the official gemstone of the State of Hawai‘i.
Even though most people have heard of black coral jewelry, very few ever get to see these corals in their natural environments because of the depths they are found in. As a result of their remote habitats, very little is known about the basic biology of black corals.
Scientists at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), examined 14 black coral species collected between 10 and 396 m from around Hawai‘i for the presence of algae using molecular and histological (tissue studies) techniques. Surprisingly, 71% of the examined species were found to contain algae, even at depths approaching 400 m. These black corals exhibited very similar traits to those of corals commonly found in shallow-water (use of algae). PhD student, Daniel Wagner at HIMB was the one who led the investigation.
He states: “because black corals are predominantly found in deep and dark environments, most people assumed that they could not harbor these photosynthetic symbiotic algae. At this point we do not know how these algae are able to exist in extreme environments, and it certainly highlights how little we know about deep reefs.”
This is a new and important discovery for coral biology, representing the deepest record of Symbiodinium to date. This research also implies that some members of these algae have extremely diverse habitat preferences and broad environmental ranges. The prestigious Royal Society will be publishing the full research report in their journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B this month.
For More information on this research contact Daniel Wagner at firstname.lastname@example.org or Carlie Wiener at email@example.com.Related Websites
Carlie Wiener | EurekAlert!
The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
How protein islands form
15.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).
The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research