Orange Montastrea cavernosa recruits?

Robert Murray rmurray at
Wed Jul 26 10:19:22 EDT 2000

Hi Iain et al,
Coral photobiology is not my area of study, although I did examine the topic some years ago. I believe it is fairly common for many corals to exhibit brightly coloured fluorescence pigments (especially those in shallowest water conditions where light intensity is greatest).

>From some of the literature I have read I seem to remember a plausible case for these pigments operating as some sort of protection against the destructive energy of short (UV) wavelengths, by liberating some of this energy as harmless (less energetic) visible fluorescence. Perhaps this is one of the discredited theories now. If so, I would be interested to hear the evidence against it.

Regards to all

Robert Murray.

(What's up Iain?)

Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory,
Discovery Bay, Jamaica, W.I.
Tel. (876) 973 2946
Fax. (876) 973 3091
rmurray at

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Mikhail Matz 
  To: Iain Macdonald ; coral list 
  Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2000 11:33
  Subject: Re: Orange Montastrea cavernosa recruits?

  Hi Iain,
  we know a little bit what is the substance causing the fluorescence in
  and observations, measurements and photos were made about this
  (see for the list of related
  papers and websites)
  Moreover, in particular M.cavernosa fluorescence was measured (in situ)
  by Charles Mazel
  and is studied by me (in vitro) right now.

  However, so far we have absolutely no clue as to the function of this
  fluorescence in
  nature (if we forget for a moment about older hypotheses all of which
  seem wrong by now),
  and the subject is my primary interest. Your observation is, as far as I
  know, the first
  information which might help to link fluorescence to some aspect of coral
  ecology. I would be
  extremely grateful if you could provide some more details on your
  I would like to ask all coral listers as well - perhaps you saw
  something like Iain? Anything
  which could give a hint about the function of fluorescence? Or perhaps I
  simply missed something
  in literature?
  best wishes,

  Mike Matz

  Iain Macdonald wrote:

  > During a recent field trip i noted the following along my transects.
  > M. cavernosa recruits (i use the plural as this was seen three
  > different times), of only one polyp was noted at approx. 15-20m depth
  > to appear to the unaided eye as fluorescent orange. Close by (ie
  > 10cm away) 5 polyps were the typical olive green colour with this
  > "day glow" orange colour around its edges. Again a few cms away
  > larger colonies 20-25 polyps were only olive green. Is this typical
  > for recruits (i think not) or maybe as a result of some stress
  > (sediment) stimulus? I was startled to see such colour from this type
  > of coral and would like to konw of any other observations.
  > Cheers
  > Iain Macd.
  > Room E402 John Dalton Extension Building,
  > Department of Environmental and Geographical Science,
  > Manchester Metropolitian University,
  > Chester Street,
  > Manchester,
  > M1 5GD
  > Tel: 0161 247 6234
  > Fax: 0161 247 6318

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