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:12/22/2016)... , December 22, 2016 SuperCom (NASDAQ: ... secure solutions for the e-Government, Public Safety, HealthCare, and Finance sectors ... SuperCom, has been selected to implement and deploy a community-based supportive ... Northern California , further expanding its presence in the ... This new ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... DUBLIN , Dec 16, 2016 Research ... Access System Market - Global Forecast to 2021" report to ... ... projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.06% from 2016 to ... 2016, and is projected to reach 854.8 Million by 2021. The ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec. 15, 2016 ... driving experience, health wellness and wellbeing (HWW), ... one in three new passenger vehicles begin ... recognition, gesture recognition, heart beat monitoring, brain ... monitoring, facial monitoring, and pulse detection. These ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... NY (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... FireflySci ... an exponential rate. The tremendous growth is accounted to two main factors. ... table and the expanding network of vendors supplying FireflySci products all around the world. ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017 Acupath Laboratories, ... announces the formation of an Executive Committee that will ... beyond. John Cucci , a 15-year ... from Director of Business Development to Chief Sales ... Mr. Cucci served in senior sales leadership roles at ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 18, 2017   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... target cancer stemness pathways, will feature data from two ... the 2017 ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, held from January ... Napabucasin is an orally-administered investigational agent designed ... Cancer stem cells (CSCs) possess the property of ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... Total Orthopedics ... implanted SpineFrontier’s A-CIFT™ Solofuse-P™. The operation took place on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 ... procedure was an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion on a 42 year old ...
Breaking Biology Technology: