Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Coral algae (symbiodinium) discovered in black corals at never seen before depths

Date:
October 20, 2010
Source:
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Summary:
Scientists examined 14 black coral species collected between 10 and 396 meters from around Hawai'i for the presence of algae using molecular and histological (tissue studies) techniques. Surprisingly, 71 percent of the examined species were found to contain algae, even at depths approaching 400 meters. These black corals exhibited very similar traits to those of corals commonly found in shallow-water (use of algae).

Photo of Black Coral.
Credit: Daniel Wagner, HIMB

Researchers at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), an organized research unit in the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, have made remarkable new findings of deep-water black corals.

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 meters 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 meters. 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 Royal Society will be publishing the full research report in their journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B this month.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Hawaii at Manoa. "Coral algae (symbiodinium) discovered in black corals at never seen before depths." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020171621.htm>.
University of Hawaii at Manoa. (2010, October 20). Coral algae (symbiodinium) discovered in black corals at never seen before depths. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020171621.htm
University of Hawaii at Manoa. "Coral algae (symbiodinium) discovered in black corals at never seen before depths." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020171621.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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