From corals to sharks, marine species can glow with biofluorescence in the sea’

Context: Biofluorescence in Oceanic species

Fluorescence in oceanic species

Corals: Corals make so much of one particular protein which causes them to be fluorescent. This composes 15% of the protein in corals. Corals could use biofluorescence as an attractant for microbes with whom they have a symbiotic relationship — microbes have very good photoreceptors and can see different colours. So, this could be a great way to signal microbes to inhabit corals.

Fishes: Fishes use biofluorescence as camouflage or to call to other fish with the same phenomena.

Shark: The molecule causing fluorescence in sharks is an anti-microbial. So, nothing will ever grow on these sharks, even if they just sit at the bottom of the sea.

Sea turtle: Biofluorescence has also been found in a sea turtle

Marine biofluorescence is stimulated by blue light. These species can absorb blue light and transform it into greens, oranges and reds.

How deep-sea mining impacts such species and reefs?

Deep-sea mining just vacuums up minerals from the ocean floor, razing through the habitat of these unique animals. Climate change is also impacting marine life.

Many of the reefs have vanished or have very few species left in them. It can take thousands of years to build a healthy coral reef with a thriving ecosystem. Yet, human actions are wrecking these rapidly.

Way forward

We can all help marine conservation by getting involved in citizen science projects, joining beach cleanups and researching the sustainability of commodities.

Source: This news is based on the article “From corals to sharks, marine species can glow with biofluorescence in the sea” published in the Times of India on 7th May 22.

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