Understanding The Survival Of Living corals: Quantum leaps

Understanding The Survival Of Living corals: Quantum leaps

The Living Corals

On planet earth, one of the strongest yet delicate organisms is still believed to be corals. They survived greenhouse conditions escaping from ice, and before that, the ice ages. In between these, they countered all other threats the world incessantly threw at them.   Though they possess a long history of disruptions in weathering, coral reefs still are sensitive enough to work as indicators of oceanic health and climate change. 

For example, when there is an increase in seawater acidity, corals automatically eject their algal elements. This leads to a situation referred to as coral bleaching – changing the colours of these corals. How bleaching occurs can only be understood by visualizing the interaction between corals and algae. 

In previous times, this could only have been understood by peeling skins off these corals and placing the samples in a blender. How invasive, you might say. This is why the new study simply yet efficiently collects few coral samples on a breathing reef, then brings them under the microscope with little further processing. This technique allows researchers to preserve the corals in the original structure of their growth using light to scan the living tissues.

In addition, researchers analyse how many elements are in coral tissues which can be altered by the corals. And then, there comes the simultaneous tracking of the changes in biomolecules and mucus – the natural sun blockers.

These microscopy studies resulted in an amazing revelation. The deeper water corals were discovered to receive sunlight but on a lesser scale. As a result, they require larger algae deposits to meet the demand of photosynthesis. On the other hand, water corals of shallow structures are of lower algal deposit and consequently produce higher amounts of biomolecules which in turn protect algae from likely sunlight damage.

It is worthy of note by the way, that the warmer waters lead to lower production of mucus and in effect, lower concentration of algae which at the same time result in increased skeleton growth of coral and faster photosynthesis. By contrast, the opposite effect is caused by cooler waters.   

From this study, there has been the identification of universal mechanisms that aid bio mineralisation between microbes, water, rock and living organisms. Also, this study allowed a staunch establishment of a comprehensive understanding of the system by which corals link themselves with the layered rock formation within other systems such as roman aqueducts, hot springs and in fact, stones in human kidney. 

  • This study is conceived to be a result of several years and virtually requiring all available microscopes. Therefore, its intensity and the care put into its make up cannot be overemphasised.   

For more than five million years, coral reefs thrived in shallow seawater owing to one thing – their unique partnerships with algae which reside in their own tissues. While corals construct and make avail a safe haven and dispense carbon dioxide, their algal partners provide oxygen and food after photosynthesising.

This study has done a lot in improving our capacity to track the existing symbiotic relationship and help us visualize it in the face of an impending global warming which transpires into warming the temperatures of the sea and further deepening seawaters. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *