Red means Go

A study published last week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin indicates that newborn corals that inherit a particular fluorescent pigment exhibit a selective advantage in traveling further from their home reefs over their counterparts which lack this specific pigment.

This has important implications in how coastal resource managers can cope with a future, warmer ocean resulting from climate change. The less likely coral larvae are to settle, the more likely they will disperse far from their reef of origin and find more suitable environmental conditions.

The study focused upon Acropora millepora, a relatively abundant Indo-Pacific stony coral found from Sri Lanka and Thailand to Australia, Tonga, and the Marshall Islands. Adult A. millepora (in the image at the top of this post) are most commonly found in green colonies with orange tips, but can also be bright salmon-pink, blue, green, pale green, bright orange, or pink.

A. millepora forms cluster-shaped colonies. Like other stony corals, A. millepora