Coral manipulates its environment to gain nutrients, dispose of waste

By on September 11, 2014

Tracer particles show the flows mixed up at the coral surface (Credit: MIT)


Coral were until recently believed to be passive members in their various environments. However, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Weizmann Institute of Science researchers discovered corals don’t wait for the ocean to deliver nutrients, according to a release from MIT.

Instead, they use their cilia to manipulate the water to simultaneously bring in nutrients and dispose of waste. The scientists tested six kinds of coral and discovered the activity using strong microscopes and high-speed video cameras.

The scientists also believe their research could lead to further understanding ciliary activity inside the human body.

Image: Tracer particles show the flows mixed up at the coral surface (Credit: MIT)

 

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