Deep-reef corals prefer the shade

Image courtesy of www.coralreefecosystems.org

Deep-reef coral has been found to grow more prosperously when exposed little sunlight, rather than greater sunlight.

Researchers investigated coral populations from three habitats on coral reefs: sheltered back-reefs, wave-exposed reef slopes and the deemly lit deep-reefs.

They found there is little gene flow between coral populations at different depths and that “algal endosymbionts”, which provide energy for the corals to survive, are genetically different across habitats.

While corals are normally dependent on light for their energy requirements, the deep coral appeared to have adapted to low-light conditions by having an increased capacity to exploit nutrients and plankton.

Read more at The University of Queensland