“Coral and brown algae adapt to warming seas”

The golden-brown algae called Zooxanthellae need another animal to survive. They live in mutually beneficial relationship with various marine invertebrates like the tropical sea anemone, Aiptasia, protozoa, and the Scleractinian corals like the fan coral pictured below.

coral changing

Little algae big animals how do they live together?

The algae provide the host with food through photosynthesis. Zooxanthellae can provide up to 90 percent of a coral’s energy requirements.


What does the coral do from the little brown algae?

The coral provides a home and protection. It also provides a constant supply of carbon dioxide that is required for photosynthesis. The algae need the CO2 to start photosynthesis. The number of algae are limited in growth by available nutrients, light, and by the number of excess cells that can be utilized or gotten removed. If the waters get too warn the coral expel the tenant algae.

Why is this relationship so important now?

In tropical waters that are warming around the world, these reef building coral are dependent on the algae and both are adapting to the warming ocean waters.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of Wikipedia.org/wiki/Zooxanthella

Excerpts courtesy of NewScientist.com
Corals upgrade algae to beat the heat – Catherine Brahic May 2009.

Image courtesy of NewScientist.com

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