Why does coral glow? Teach me about science

Why does coral glow?

If you are a lover of the sea, you will definitely love the beauty of coral reefs, and even more so when they shine. Have you ever wondered what caused this shine? If so, let me tell you that you are not alone, this is something that scientists have tried to understand better.

Coral reefs are one of the most efficient ecosystems on the planet, due to primary production through photosynthesis, which maintains a mutualistic relationship with zooxanthellae (a type of algae that lives in symbiosis with corals) that photosynthesize and provide nutrients, While corals provide shelter, they act as a kind of protector.

On the surface, sunlight is essential for primary photosynthesis. Wavelengths such as UV rays cause photodamage and photodamage to algae. It is important to note that corals have various proteins that in turn contain fluorescent pigments that reduce environmental stress from sunlight and harmful wavelengths, converting it to low-energy infrared and visible light.

On the other hand, corals on sea surfaces can maintain somewhat psychedelic colors depending on the depth at which they are located, due to the lack of sunlight from the depths. 2017 study She found evidence that corals use fluorescence to their advantage and increase their survival in the environment by moving away from the surface.

In the depths of the sea, blue light dominates perception, having said that, let’s remember that corals have a red fluorescent protein, this protein converts light into a longer wavelength that turns into orange and red light, this allows the penetration of light reflection evenly distributed within the carline tissues and skeleton coral to increase zooxanthellae productivity. This process is also important from an ecological point of view as it helps corals adapt to the deep sea environment.

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Over the years, corals have evolved a particular self-regulating mechanism called the optical feedback loop, a mechanism that is triggered by increased back-scattering of light from the reef skeleton. Coral reefs can help improve photoprotection by increasing endogenous light absorption thanks to protein pigments, in order to generate a reduction in the aforementioned light stress and accelerate new colonization of symbionts harboring in bleached coral tissues.

It is important to conserve coral reefs, not only because they are beautiful and decorate their surroundings, but also because of the positive impact on the environment that this species contributes to. Being one of the most diverse marine ecosystems on our planet, which provides shelter for thousands of species, not only animals, but also plants and even humans. To be useful to the sea surface and to the life it contains.

According to Earth.comThe increasing rate of coral bleaching due to the climate crisis is a concern and organizations must take action in this regard. “The government and international organizations will need to take effective steps collaboratively to prevent further deterioration in environmental quality.”

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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