Navigation Links
Coral chemicals protect against warming oceans
Date:10/23/2013

Australian marine scientists have found the first evidence that coral itself may play an important role in regulating local climate.

They have discovered that the coral animalnot just its algal symbiontmakes an important sulphur-based molecule with properties to assist it in many ways, ranging from cellular protection in times of heat stress to local climate cooling by encouraging clouds to form.

These findings have been published in the prestigious weekly science journal Nature.

The researchers have shown that the coral animal makes dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP). "The characteristic 'smell of the ocean' is actually derived from this compound, indicating how abundant the molecule is in the marine environment. In fact we could smell it in a single baby coral," says AIMS chemist Cherie Motti, and co-author on the paper.

"This is the first time that an animal has been identified as a DMSP producer. Previously it was assumed that the large concentrations of DMSP emitted from coral reefs came solely from their symbiotic algae," says lead author Jean-Baptiste Raina, of AIMS@JCU and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (CoECRS).

Production of DMSP was found to increase when corals are subjected to water temperatures that put them under heat stress. DMSP and its breakdown products act as antioxidants (chemical defence compounds) protecting coral tissues from environmental stress, including that caused by high solar radiation.

The sulphur-based molecules also serve as nuclei for the formation of water droplets in the atmosphere and hence help to create clouds. If coral numbers decline, the scientists warn, there could be a major decrease in the production of DMSP and this, in turn, will impede cloud formation.

"Cloud production, especially in the tropics, is an important regulator of climate because clouds shade the Earth and reflect much of the sun's heat back into space. If fewer clouds are produced, less heat will be reflected which ultimately will lead to warmer sea surface temperatures," Dr Raina explains.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is a major hotspot for the emission of sulphur aerosol particles, according to the scientists. "The GBR is the largest biological structure on the planet and the release of these particles along its 2600 km length could constitute a major source of cloud condensation nuclei," the authors write in their paper.

"Considering declining trends in coral cover and predicted increases in coral mortality worldwide caused by anthropogenic stressors, the associated decline in sulphur aerosol production from coral reefs may further destabilise local climate regulation and accelerate degradation of this globally important and diverse ecosystem."


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Clarke
s.clarke@aims.gov.au
61-419-668-497
Science in Public
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Fossil record shows crustaceans vulnerable as modern coral reefs decline
2. Establishing world-class coral reef ecosystem monitoring in Okinawa
3. Clues in coral bleaching mystery
4. Where can coral reefs relocate to escape the heat?
5. Epic ocean voyages of baby corals revealed
6. NOAA reports discovery of table coral, Acropora cytherea, off Oahu
7. Cloud brightening to cool seas can protect coral reefs
8. Major changes needed for coral reef survival
9. Submarine springs reveal how coral reefs respond to ocean acidification
10. Catastrophic climatic events leave corals facing a decade-long fight for recovery
11. Corals turn to algae for stored food when times get tough
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics ... Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade shows ... at the Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... percentage of growth in each of the following categories: net ... and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... WASHINGTON , June 22, 2016 On ... highly-anticipated call to industry to share solutions for the ... by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), explains that ... nationals are departing the United States ... criminals, and to defeat imposters. Logo - ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading ... for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced ... it has secured the final acceptance by all ... Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will ... be installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... Mount Laurel, NJ (PRWEB) , ... December 06, ... ... a white paper on December 1, 2016 asking the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) ... to the study of OA, OARSI is concerned about the growing population of ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... and Albany, NY (PRWEB) , ... December 06, ... ... control system integrator of custom industrial automation and IT solutions, today announced the ... Superior Controls has reliably delivered professionally executed automation and control systems integration services ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... today announced it has acquired the assets of Theorem Clinical Research - ... focuses on clinical trial drug packaging, labeling, storage, reconciliation, and distribution for ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... SAN DIEGO , Dec. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Santosh Kesari , MD, PhD, FANA, FAAN to ... experience in neurology and clinical trials to assist the ... treatment of stroke. The AmnioStem product is a universal donor ... shown therapeutic activity in animal models of stroke 1 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: