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:2/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Potentials of that Rising Market Are you ... new analysis forecasts revenues for checkpoint inhibitors. Visiongain,s ... world market, submarket, product and national level. ... Instead discover what progress, opportunities and revenues those ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... 2016  Today, the first day of American Heart ... develop a first of its kind workplace health solution ... In the first application of Watson ... ), and Welltok will create a new offering that ... analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The effort ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... Software, the world-leading supplier of image data management solutions ... data management solution OMERO Plus for the newly established ... Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160125/325328LOGO ... analysis measures the characteristics and behavior of cells, tissues ... as health and disease, the presence or absence of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... ... The American Academy of Thermology (AAT) has announced that for the ... Qualification Course for Technicians via a two part webinar on July 30 and August ... of hardware, software, and camera setup/operations, aligns with the in-person member qualification course that ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... This market research report on the global ... of the market in terms of revenue (USD Million). ... the manufacture of microbiology culture media and related products. ... snapshot providing the overall information of various market segments ... also provides the overall information and data analysis of ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... DelveInsight,s, "Protein-Tyrosine Phosphatase ... in depth insights on the pipeline drugs ... Phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) Inhibitors. The DelveInsight,s Report ... of development including Discovery, Pre-clinical, IND, Phase ... Report covers the product clinical trials information ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... February 8, 2016 ... Limited, an innovation-driven oncology company developing next generation ... toxic, today announced that chairman emeritus of Tata ... in the company as part of the first ... existing investors Navam Capital and Aarin Capital. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: