Deep below the ocean’s surface, some corals emit an otherworldly glow called fluorescence, but for years, scientists have wondered about the purpose of these glowing colors. Among the hypotheses biologists have proposed is that fluorescence might optimize photosynthesis, shield against the sun’s radiation, protect plant-eating marine life that lives among the corals, or attract algae that live inside the coral and provide them with energy through photosynthesis. Now, researchers have come up with a different hypothesis: fluorescence attracts the plankton that corals capture and eat.
Our Science and the Sea initiative began in July of 2005 as a monthly column in Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine. A year later, it expanded into a radio program, podcast, and website. In February 2022, we published our 200th magazine article! Special thanks to Tara Haelle, who has written most of our stories over the past decade, and to Heather Herrick, who coordinates production.
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Science and the SeaTM is part of the Texas Podcast Network – the conversations changing the world – brought to you by The University of Texas at Austin. Any opinions that may be expressed in this podcast do not represent the views of The University of Texas at Austin.