HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Corals switch skeleton material as seawater changes

Leopards may not be able to change their spots, but corals can change their skeletons, building them out of different minerals depending on the chemical composition of the seawater around them.

That's the startling conclusion drawn by a Johns Hopkins University marine geologist, writing in the July issue of the journal Geology.

Postdoctoral fellow Justin Ries and his collaborators say this is the first known case of an animal altering the composition of its skeleton in response to change in its physical environment. The aquatic animal's sensitivity to such changes poses questions about its evolutionary history, as well as the future of the ecologically important coral reefs that it builds, Ries said, especially at a time when seawater is changing in response to global warming and the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

A 2005 Ph.D. graduate of Johns Hopkins, Ries collaborated on the research with his dissertation advisors, Steven M. Stanley (now of the University of Hawaii) and Lawrence A. Hardie, professor in the Morton K. Blaustein Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins.

Reefs are large underwater structures of coral skeletons, made from calcium carbonate secreted by generation after generation of tiny coral polyps over sometimes millions of years of coral growth in the same location. The team showed that corals can switch from using aragonite to another mineral, calcite, in making the calcium carbonate. They make that switch in response to decreases in the ratio of magnesium to calcium in seawater, Ries said. That ratio has changed dramatically over geologic time.

"This is intriguing because, until now, it was generally believed that the skeletal composition of corals was fixed," he said.

Ries spent two months growing three species of modern scleractinian corals (the major reef-building corals in today's seas) in seawater formulated at six different chemical ratios th
'"/>

Contact: Lisa DeNike
LDE@jhu.edu
443-287-9960
Johns Hopkins University
6-Jul-2006


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Corals -- More complex than you?
2. Corals that can fight global warming may one day help fragile reefs
3. U-M researchers find family of on switches that cause prostate cancer
4. Scientists find stem cell switch
5. Illinois-based study of energy crops finds miscanthus more productive than switchgrass
6. Scientists find brown fat master switch
7. Weizmann Institute scientists develop a general control switch for protein activity
8. U-M researchers discover gene switched off in cancer can be turned on
9. Babies able to tell through visual cues when speakers switch languages: UBC study
10. Exercise pill switches on gene that tells cells to burn fat
11. Structural basis for photoswitching in fluorescent proteins brought into focus

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: Corals switch skeleton material seawater changes

(Date:7/30/2014)... Red Queen in Lewis Carroll,s Through the Looking ... National University of Singapore improved a 35-year-old ecology ... decades to millions of years. , The new ... incorporates the "Red Queen Effect," an evolutionary hypothesis ... which suggests that organisms must constantly increase their ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... until they hatched 4.5 years later, according to a ... PLOS ONE by Bruce Robison from Monterey ... have a single reproductive period during their life, where ... eggs until they hatch. Shallow-water octopuses typically care for ... is known about the brooding of deep-sea species. Using ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... (ACS) announced today that David L. Kaplan, Ph.D., will ... & Engineering as editor-in-chief. With the first issue ... will feature high-quality research in the rapidly burgeoning field ... materials that interact with living or biological systems. , ... tremendous growth in the field of biomaterials over the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Classic Lewis Carroll character inspires new ecological model 2Classic Lewis Carroll character inspires new ecological model 3Deep-sea octopus has longest-known egg-brooding period 2ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering: Brand-new journal launches in 2015, names editor 2
(Date:7/30/2014)... MARLBOROUGH, Mass. , July 30, 2014 ... RXII ), a biotechnology company focused on ... major unmet medical needs using RNA-targeted technologies, ... study (RXI-109-1402) with RXI-109, for the reduction ... scar revision surgery, has been initiated. ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... Vala Sciences was recently awarded ... Agency (EPA). This new contract was awarded for ... tests designed to assess the effect of chemical ... connections between neurons (synapses), which are critical for ... by environmental pollutants likely contributes to a variety ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... MA (PRWEB) July 30, 2014 LayerBio, ... announces completion of its first round of seed financing ... will enable preliminary efforts to develop a novel sustained-release ... support of our investors and their commitment to this ... of LayerBio. "Ophthalmology is one of many areas in ...
(Date:7/29/2014)... of significant technological challenges in their quest to ... for the James Webb Space Telescope. , The ... scientist at NASA,s Goddard Space Flight Center in ... arrays that is, those activated by applying ... the current technology,s magnetically activated arrays. This advance ...
Breaking Biology Technology:RXi Pharmaceuticals Expands Clinical Program with Initiation of Third Phase 2a Study with RXI-109 for Treatment of Hypertrophic Scars 2RXi Pharmaceuticals Expands Clinical Program with Initiation of Third Phase 2a Study with RXI-109 for Treatment of Hypertrophic Scars 3RXi Pharmaceuticals Expands Clinical Program with Initiation of Third Phase 2a Study with RXI-109 for Treatment of Hypertrophic Scars 4RXi Pharmaceuticals Expands Clinical Program with Initiation of Third Phase 2a Study with RXI-109 for Treatment of Hypertrophic Scars 5U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Awards Vala Sciences a Second ToxCast Contract 2U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Awards Vala Sciences a Second ToxCast Contract 3Revolutionary microshutter technology hurdles significant challenges 2Revolutionary microshutter technology hurdles significant challenges 3Revolutionary microshutter technology hurdles significant challenges 4
Cached News: