Friday, 23 July 2010

Coraline Cruelty

I've been reading an interesting paper in bioessays which redescribes the symbiotic relationship between corals and their algae from one of mutalism to one of... well.... vampirism? Slavery? Rather than happy zooxanthellae producing sugars for their grateful host while basking in the protection of the coral polyps cnidocytes, the little algae are tricked into getting close to the coral, mercilessly engulfed by the gut cells, and then have to undergo a cruel process of selection, where over a period of days to years, they are tested, and most digested, with an unlucky few forced to live a life of indentured servitude, producing carbon for their coraline masters!

I'll never look at a coral the same way again.

No comments:

Post a Comment