Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Baby corals dance their way home

17.05.2010
Dr Steve Simpson, Senior Researcher in the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences discovered several years ago that baby reef fish use sound as a cue to find coral reefs, but was amazed when his Dutch collaborators in Curaçao started finding that coral larvae – which must quickly find a safe place to land and establish a colony or they will die – can do the same thing.

The team designed a 'choice chamber' (a device that offers small invertebrates two or more contrasting conditions and allows them to move freely towards the one they prefer), put coral larvae into it and played them recordings of a coral reef. The results clearly showed that the flea-sized larvae were strongly attracted to the noise as they seek a suitable habitat.

Coral larvae look like tiny eggs covered in hairs, and come from the same group of animals (Cnidaria) that also includes sea anemones. How these simple creatures detect sound is unknown, but Dr Simpson said: "At close range sound stirs up water molecules, and this could waggle tiny hair cells on the surface of the larvae, providing vital directional information for baby corals."

Corals aggregate to form vast reefs, which are now one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world. Due to global warming and ocean acidification, some experts have suggested coral reefs are now on Death Row. Understanding how these vulnerable animals complete their life-cycle is essential to ensure appropriate management.

Since corals, like fish, respond to reef sounds then the masking effects of human noise pollution in coral environments is of extra concern. "Anthropogenic noise has increased dramatically in recent years, with small boats, shipping, drilling, pile driving and seismic testing now sometimes drowning out the natural sounds of fish and snapping shrimps," Dr Simpson said.

This study was carried out by a team at the Carmabi Foundation in Curaçao in the Dutch Antilles led by Dr Mark Vermeij, using larvae of the dominant Caribbean reef building coral Montastraea faveolata collected during the 2008 mass-spawning event.

The research is published in PLoS ONE and was funded through a fellowship to Dr Simpson by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC, UK) and by the National Science Foundation and Scripps Institution of Oceanography (USA).

Hannah Johnson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bristol.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>