Neon colors may help some corals stage a comeback from bleaching

Friday, May 29, 2020 - 07:06 in Biology & Nature

For some corals, going bright may be part of their fight against bleaching. Higher-than-normal ocean temperatures can cause some corals to bleach and lose the beneficial algae that dwell within their cells. Those algae help feed the corals and give them their color, so bleached corals can become bone white, and may struggle to survive (SN: 4/7/20). But when some corals bleach, they turn neon hues from red to blue to purple. A new study finds that those flashy colors may be part of a response that can help the corals recover from bleaching and reunite with their algal partners. “It’s visually very striking, but … there was surprisingly little information” on how and why colorful bleaching happens, says Elena Bollati, a marine biologist at the National University of Singapore. Some researchers suspected that with the algae gone, the bleached corals’ vivid natural colors shone through. But the new work suggests a different dynamic. In the lab, certain wavelengths of light appear to trigger...

Read the whole article on

More from

Latest Science Newsletter

Get the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!

Check out our next project, Biology.Net