Fish that munch on corals wind up helping those very same corals survive by pooping on them, researchers have found.
Rice University marine biologist Adrienne Correa told Science Daily that the feces of coral-eating fish have algae that corals need to survive:
“The message is, ‘Move over grazers, it’s not just you helping maintain coral dominance. These coral-eating fishes are probably helping too by spreading beneficial coral symbionts.’”
Correa and her colleagues followed fish along a coral reef in French Polynesia and noted where those fish ate as well as where they defecated. After collecting some of the feces, they studied it in a lab and found a whole bunch of living symbionts.
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John Liang is the News Editor at DeeperBlue.com. He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.