Image of the Day: Coral Fluorescence
Image of the Day: Coral Fluorescence

Image of the Day: Coral Fluorescence

Green fluorescent protein lures algal symbionts to corals.

kerry grens
Kerry Grens

Kerry served as The Scientist’s news director until 2021. Before joining The Scientist in 2013, she was a stringer for Reuters Health, the senior health and science reporter at...

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ABOVE: The coral Echinophyllia aspera shows off its green glow.

As a means of recruiting symbiotic partners, corals send out a beacon of light that draws in algae passing by, scientists reported yesterday (January 21) in PNAS. In lab experiments, they showed that the alga Symbiodinium moves toward Echinophyllia aspera coral emitting light from its green fluorescent protein, and in the field, traps painted with a green fluorescent dye likewise attracted the alga. 

Y. Aihara et al., “Green fluorescence from cnidarian hosts attracts symbiotic algae,” PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1812257116, 2019. 

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