Navigation Links
Breath of the ocean links fish feeding, reefs, climate
Date:3/6/2008

An ocean odor that affects global climate also gathers reef fish to feed as they "eavesdrop" on events that might lead them to food.

Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is given off by algae and phytoplankton, microscopic one-celled plants that float in the ocean. Release of DMSP usually indicates either that tiny animals in the plankton are feeding on the algae, or that massive growth of algae -- an algal bloom -- has occurred, said Jennifer DeBose, a UC Davis graduate student and now a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

Once released from the ocean into the atmosphere, derivatives of DMSP promote cloud formation, so clouds reflect more sunlight back into space and cool the Earth.

These sulfur compounds are also known to serve as odor signals to marine organisms and are likely to play an equally important role in marine ecology, said Gabrielle Nevitt, professor of neurobiology, physiology and behavior at UC Davis and senior author on the study. The researchers wanted to know if reef fish also respond to these chemicals.

DeBose released plumes of DMSP at low concentrations on reefs off the Caribbean island of Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.

"It was pretty impressive," she said. "We would be surrounded by hundreds of fish for up to 60 minutes." The plumes mostly attracted fish known to feed on plankton, such as brown chromis and Creole wrasse, and the researchers noted that these fish were mostly arriving from down-current as if they were following a plume of scent.

The fish are using scent to "listen" to the interaction between plant plankton and their predators, DeBose said.

"They're not smelling food, but other cues that might lead them to food," she said.

DMSP is also given off by zooxanthellae, one-celled organisms that live inside coral polyps and allow them to photosynthesize. Stressed or damaged coral can lose its zooxanthellae and become "bleached," Nevitt said.

"DMSP is the smell of a productive, healthy reef," she said.

DMSP has mostly been studied in the context of atmospheric chemistry and global climate regulation, and not as a signaling molecule, Nevitt said. A better understanding of its effects could help in the recovery of damaged reefs, and understanding the links between climate change and the biological realm.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andy Fell
ahfell@ucdavis.edu
530-752-4533
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Breathless babies: Preemies lung function shows prolonged impairment
2. Researchers find origin of breathable atmosphere half a billion years ago
3. Cystic fibrosis patients may breathe easier, thanks to bioengineered antimicrobials
4. Rhythmic breathing adapts to external beat through brain calculus
5. Changes in ocean conditions in Sargasso Sea potential cause for decline in eel fishery
6. Team probes mysteries of oceanic bacteria
7. Unfavorable ocean conditions likely cause of low 2007 salmon returns along West Coast
8. 2008 Ocean Sciences Meeting -- media advisory 2
9. Voyage to Southern Ocean aims to study air-sea fluxes of greenhouse gases
10. Climate change has major impact on oceans
11. Oceans fiercest predators now vulnerable to extinction
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/25/2016)... 25, 2016   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) ... Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, New York City , ... imposters attempting to enter the United States ... pilot testing of the system at Dulles last ... at JFK during January 2016. --> pilot testing ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... , Jan. 22, 2016 ... the addition of the "Global Biometrics ... to their offering. --> ... the "Global Biometrics Market in Retail ... --> Research and Markets ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... Minn. , Jan. 20, 2016   MedNet ... supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased ... 2015. MedNet,s significant achievements are the result of the ... iMedNet eClinical , it,s comprehensive, easy-to-use ... --> --> Key MedNet growth achievements ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... 150 years, continues today to pursue the highest level of accuracy and quality ... the AR9 Refractometer and the AR5 Refractometer. Accurate, reliable and tough enough ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016  The Maryland House of ... has announced that University of Maryland School of Medicine ... and University of Maryland Medical System President and CEO ... "Speaker,s Medallion," the highest honor given to the public ... Dean Reece and Mr. Chrencik for ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016  Allergan plc (NYSE: ... that Brent Saunders , Allergan,s CEO and President, ... fireside chat session at the RBC Capital Markets Healthcare ... ET at The New York Palace Hotel in ... be webcast live and can be accessed on Allergan,s ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... SonaCare Medical, LLC reports the ... Sonalinkā„¢ remote monitoring. The inaugural launch of this new technology occurred over the ... Samuel Peretsman to a HIFU technical expert at SonaCare Medical headquarters. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: