Sep 25, 2017 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Cauliflower Coral Larvae Has Specific Way to Respond to Environmental Stress, Scientists Find

May 18, 2017 11:25 AM EDT

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A team of scientists has found that a larvae of common coral species, Cauliflower coral larvae, has a unique way to deal with environmental stress. The consumption of a lipid helps them to overcome stress.

Marine biologists from the University of California in Santa Barbara tested the reaction of the cauliflower coral larvae to handle the stress. A professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at UC Santa Barbara, Gretchen Hofmann with her team found that lipid consumption in the cauliflower coral larvae is different, depending on the environmental condition.

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The research analyzed the cauliflower coral larvae from two different places, Moorea island in Tahiti and another one in Taiwan. According to the official report from UC Santa Barbara, the changes in environmental affected the larva of the most common coral in both locations, the cauliflower coral (Pocillopora damicornis).

The lead author of the research, Emily Rivest, compared the specimens of cauliflower coral larvae in Moorea and Taiwan. She found that the specimens from Taiwan showed a less tolerance to the warmer water than its counterpart. She and the team analyzed the fat content of the cauliflower coral larvae, including the lipid consumption to determine how they respond to stress.

"The lipids are important energy stores for the coral," Rivest explained the condition of the cauliflower coral larvae. "Their lipid levels can influence how far they can travel, impacting the ability for one reef to repopulate or save a nearby reef."

The research found that the lipid consumption in cauliflower coral larvae is different, depending on their environmental condition. They have published the findings in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, which could explain the environmental history of the cauliflower coral larvae, which are the most common coral in the world. Watch the development of the coral larvae below:

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