Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Baby corals dance their way home

Date:
May 16, 2010
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
Baby corals find their way home in their first days as free-swimming larvae by listening to the noise of animals on the reef and actively swimming towards it, an international team of researchers working in the Caribbean has discovered. These findings raise new concerns for the future of coral reefs as increasing human noise pollution in the world's oceans is masking reef sounds.

Overview of the experimental setup. The position of coral larvae was observed in six Plexiglas tubes that were arranged around three central underwater loudspeakers to control for the effect of other factors that might influence the movement of larvae (e.g., currents, underwater light fields). Coral larvae are not drawn to scale.
Credit: Mark J. A. Vermeij, Kristen L. Marhaver, Chantal M. Huijbers, Ivan Nagelkerken, Stephen D. Simpson, Steve Vollmer. Coral Larvae Move toward Reef Sounds. PLoS ONE, 2010; 5 (5): e10660 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010660

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.

Related Articles


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).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mark J. A. Vermeij, Kristen L. Marhaver, Chantal M. Huijbers, Ivan Nagelkerken, Stephen D. Simpson, Steve Vollmer. Coral Larvae Move toward Reef Sounds. PLoS ONE, 2010; 5 (5): e10660 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010660

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Baby corals dance their way home." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100514171908.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2010, May 16). Baby corals dance their way home. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100514171908.htm
University of Bristol. "Baby corals dance their way home." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100514171908.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) — Ancient techniques of growing greens with fish and water are well ahead of Toronto bylaws. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) — A howling blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph heaped snow on Boston along with other stretches of lower New England and Long Island on Tuesday, but failed to live up to the hype in Philadelphia and New York City. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — A huge plume of smoke shoots into the air as activity in Mexico&apos;s Volcano of Fire picks up again. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Time Lapse: Snow, Frost Piling Up in New York's Times Square

Time Lapse: Snow, Frost Piling Up in New York's Times Square

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 26, 2015) — Video shows the accumulation of snow and frost in New York City&apos;s Times Square over five hours on Monday. Time Lapse (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins