A recent study at UC San Diego has led to the discovery that fluorescent light given off by corals is a good indication of its health. Previously, the purpose of the fluorescence was widely unknown and misunderstood. However, tests revealed that corals will give off strong fluorescent light under very little stress, but begin to dim under cold or hot temperatures. The coral will eventually bleach if under too much physiological stress. Fluorescent light can only be used as a gauge before a bleaching event, as the corals no longer fluoresce once bleached.This is not only an interesting discovery, but also very useful information for future marine biologists. As we have learned in BIOL 301 lecture, coral bleaching is driven by many factors including pollution and CO2emissions into the atmosphere. The high acidity and temperatures of the ocean is detrimental to corals, and humans are largely to blame. In order to stop the decline of the coral reefs, or at least slow it down, humans need to think twice about what is put into the atmosphere and oceans.
The article can be read at the following link: http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/fluorescent_light_revealed_as_gauge_of_coral_health
- Aly Tanaka