Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Science briefs: Pheromone limits male mouse arousal

  • Article by:
  • Last update: October 12, 2013 - 6:24 PM

It is known as Darwin’s paradox: Coral reefs are rife with animal and plant life, yet exist in clear, nutrient-free waters. Where is the food coming from?

The answer is sponges, say researchers from the Netherlands.

Sponges take organic matter that is cast off by coral and algae and recycle it into food that is consumed by larger organisms such as snails and crabs, according to a new study in the journal Science. The result is a “sponge loop” that allows the reefs to thrive in otherwise inhospitable waters.

“The largest source of energy and nutrients produced on the reef consists of things you cannot see,” said the lead author, Jasper M. de Goeij, a marine biologist at the University of Amsterdam. “And no one else but sponges can make use of that source.”

The findings could aid in efforts to conserve endangered coral reefs, de Goeij said.

news services

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close