Scientists Warn Light Pollution Can Stop Coral From Spawning

2015-12-30T09:27:39+00:00 December 29, 2015|
Coral macro photos under blue moon light (Credit: Mike Jensen)

(Click to enlarge) Coral macro photos under blue moon light (Credit: Mike Jensen)

Israeli and Australian scientists have found that coral exposed to artificial light cannot detect moonlight and therefore fail to spawn.

(From ScienceDaily) — Their findings are published in the journal eLife. An association between light pollution and the health of coral reefs has been suspected since the 2007 discovery that moonlight triggers the mass release of eggs and sperm. The current study led by Bar-Ilan University, in collaboration with the University of Queensland, is the first to confirm the effect with field trials during a spawning event.

The researchers are also the first to show all the genes that are switched on and off during mass spawning. The snapshot provides new insights into the way external cues and corals’ internal circadian clock interact to prepare for reproduction and to synchronise the eventual release of spawn.

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