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Fluorescent pigments in living coral


Introduction
The brightly-colored coral reefs that make scuba-diving and snorkeling so enjoyable when vacationers stay in the Caribbean or South Pacific are essential to the survival of many species of fish and underwater life. Not only do the reefs offer a haven for smaller fish to hide from the larger predators, but also some fish actually survive by eating the reefs themselves. Reefs offer protection to plants and animals from the ravages of waves and ocean currents. Thus, when the reefs die, so do many other living creatures.

When Dr. Charles Mazel of Physical Sciences (Andover, Massachusetts) decided that his research required him to make fluorescence measurements in the field, he began searching for the right instrument. Because his field was the ocean and his specimens were live coral, the instrument would have to be transportable and capable of withstanding the pitch and yaw unavoidable aboard a ship, for Dr. Mazel did not need seasick instruments. Furthermore, his samples had special requirements in order to produce usable results:
The samples might be sensitive to photodamage, and so could not be subjected to prolonged exposure to excitation radiation.
The samples were scattered over many different sites, so the instrument would be required to endure prolonged periods without service. Set-up of the system had to be easy.
The fluorescence of the coral could be dependent upon environmental factors such as seawater composition and temperature, so the perturbation of the corals surroundings had to be kept to a minimum.

Dr. Mazel found the instrument he needed when he contacted JY Horiba. The fast scan-rate of the SPEX FLUOROMAX spectrofluorometer, as well as its unmatched sensitivity, allows samples to be measured faster than any other instrument without d
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