Navigation Links
Epic ocean voyages of baby corals revealed
Date:8/21/2013

The study, by researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Miami, will help predict how coral reef distributions may change in response to changing oceans.

Coral are well known as the colourful plant-like structures which form coral reefs. However, each coral is actually a colony of anemone-like animals, which start out life as tiny, free-floating larvae about the size of a full-stop. Using a computer model, the researchers simulated how these young corals disperse in the world's oceans.

Coral reefs, a vital cultural and economic resource for many of the world's poorest countries, and home to a diverse marine community rivalling that of the tropical rainforests, are under increasing threat from the combined pressures of human activity, natural disturbances and climate change. How corals will respond to these changes will depend, in part, on the ocean currents.

Sally Wood, a PhD student at the University of Bristol and one of the study's authors, said: "Dispersal is an extremely important process for corals. As they are attached to the seafloor as adults, the only way they can escape harmful conditions or replenish damaged reefs is by releasing their young to the mercy of the ocean currents."

Where these intrepid explorers end up is therefore an important question for coral reef conservation. However, tracking the movement of such tiny larvae in the vast oceans is an impossible task.

"This is where computer simulation comes in," Sally continued. "We can use data on ocean currents to predict where larvae released from a certain location, such as the Great Barrier Reef, will end up."

For the first time, the researchers recreated the paths followed by coral larvae worldwide. Whilst the majority of larvae probably settle close to home, a rare few travel much longer distances, even occasionally crossing the daunting 5000 km of open ocean separating eastern Pacific corals from those on islands of the central Pacific.

Professor Claire Paris of the University of Miami said: "These individuals will be really important as they are thought to contribute to species persistence on vulnerable isolated reefs, as well as range shifts in response to climate change."

The model captures just the start of the coral larva's journey to survival, and further work is ongoing to complete the story. Difficult environmental conditions along the larvae's travels or at its destination, the 'wall of mouths' awaiting it at the reef face, and fierce competition for the space to grow may mean, even if it overcomes the trials of the open ocean, it may never survive to reproduce.


'/>"/>

Contact: Hannah Johnson
hannah.johnson@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-928-8896
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Newly discovered ocean plume could be major source of iron
2. Study finds novel worm community affecting methane release in ocean
3. Newly discovered bacterial partnership changes ocean chemistry
4. Seafood menus from Hawaii reflect long-term ocean changes
5. Global investigation reveals true scale of ocean warming
6. Rapid upper ocean warming linked to declining aerosols
7. Collection that may hold key to oceans mysteries looks to expand in new waterfront home
8. Scientists solve a 14,000-year-old ocean mystery
9. Glimpse into the future of acidic oceans shows ecosystems transformed
10. Greenhouse gas likely altering ocean foodchain
11. ASPIRE prize winner balances ocean conservation and socioeconomic viability
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/4/2017)... a global clinical research organization (CRO), announces the launch of Shadow, ... 2017. Shadow is designed to assist medical writers and biometrics teams ... European Medicines Agency (EMA) in meeting the requirements for de-identifying clinical ... ... Tom ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... WASHINGTON , July 20, 2017 Delta (NYSE: ... to board any Delta aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). ... Delta launches biometrics ... Delta,s ... Delta Sky Club is now integrated into the boarding process to ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... PARIS , June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ... the international tech event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups ... on June 15-17. During the event, nine startups will ... deliver value in various industries. ... in the international market, with a 30 percent increase in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... DuPont Pioneer and ... they have entered into a multiyear collaboration to identify and characterize novel CRISPR-Cas ... tools for gene editing across all applications. , Under the terms of the ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, ... in analytical testing are being attributed to new regulatory requirements for all new ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... its endogenous context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression ... guides is transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., ... a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. ... best practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: