In Deep Waters, Corals Glow to Grow

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CORALS’ ABILITY TO GLOW WITH FLUORESCENT LIGHT has been known for some time. The understanding with shallow water corals has been that fluorescent proteins absorb harmful ultraviolet rays, protecting the zooxanthellae algae that provide them with significant nutrition through photosynthesis (See “Corals’ Colors Are More Than Just Eye Candy”).

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Now scientists have found that corals in deep waters, which receive very little solar energy, use different colors for a different reason – to help their symbiotic algae with the photosynthetic process. The findings by researchers in the United Kingdom is discussed in an article published in the journal Nature.

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