Fashion Point: Corals produce substance to protect themselves from the heat

Friday, December 13, 2013

Corals produce substance to protect themselves from the heat

Corals produce a foul-smelling chemical that protects them from the increase in the temperature of the oceans and also play a key role in the regulation of their environment, according to a study reported yesterday.

A scientific team discovered, for the first time that an animal organism such as corals produce dimetilsulfoniopropionato (DMSP), which has the characteristic smell of the oceans, according to a statement from the Australian Institute of marine science (AIMS).
"Previously thought that long DMSP concentrations emanating coral reefs came from symbiotic algae", said the head of the investigation, Jean-Baptiste Raina, of the AIMS and James Cook University.
Corals can increase production of this substance when the ocean temperature rises.
This substance and its derivatives act as antioxidants and protect the coral tissues against environmental stress caused by high solar radiation.
The DMSP also creates a kind of clouds or layers around the coral that reflected into the atmosphere rays thus preventing a greater warming of the surface of the sea.

On the other hand, another researcher, Cherie Motti, discovered that corals also produced this smell when you open a container containing sample of these cnidarians.
"They gave me this sample and when I opened the container I felt the smell of the ocean and struck me because I did not expect," said the scientist to the local chain ABC.
Chemistry warned that if subject to the coral to a lot of stressful situations, these not may produce quickly this sulfur compound that protects them against the "bleaching" discoloration by the increase of the water temperature.
If the conditions of the environment become more adverse, the coral will have less chance of surviving.
The great barrier reef in Australia, which houses 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusks, began to deteriorate in the 1990s by the double impact of the warming of the sea water and the increase in its acidity due to an increased presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

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