Eyal et al. 2015

scientific article | PLoS ONE | open access Open access small aa108fa7f478951c693af64a05bc4b46e6711dbb69a20809512a129d4d6b870f

Spectral Diversity and Regulation of Coral Fluorescence in a Mesophotic Reef Habitat in the Red Sea

Eyal G, Wiedenmann J, Grinblat M, D'Angelo C, Kramarsky-Winter E, Treibitz T, Ben-Zvi O, Shaked Y, Smith TB, Harii S, Denis V, Noyes T, Tamir R, Loya Y

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The phenomenon of coral fluorescence in mesophotic reefs, although well described for shallow waters, remains largely unstudied. We found that representatives of many scleractinian species are brightly fluorescent at depths of 50-60 m at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences (IUI) reef in Eilat, Israel. Some of these fluorescent species have distribution maxima at mesophotic depths (40-100 m). Several individuals from these depths displayed yellow or orange-red fluorescence, the latter being essentially absent in corals from the shallowest parts of this reef. We demonstrate experimentally that in some cases the production of fluorescent pigments is independent of the exposure to light; while in others, the fluorescence signature is altered or lost when the animals are kept in darkness. Furthermore, we show that green-to-red photoconversion of fluorescent pigments mediated by short-wavelength light can occur also at depths where ultraviolet wavelengths are absent from the underwater light field. Intraspecific colour polymorphisms regarding the colour of the tissue fluorescence, common among shallow water corals, were also observed for mesophotic species. Our results suggest that fluorescent pigments in mesophotic reefs fulfill a distinct biological function and offer promising application potential for coral-reef monitoring and biomedical imaging.

Research sites

10.1371   journal.pone.0128697
Depth range
1- 65 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
46 x (total of 5291 words)

Physiology Biomedicine

Research focus
Scleractinia (Hard Corals)

Israel - Red Sea

Research platforms
Diving - Technical Open-Circuit
Author profiles
Or Ben-Zvi ( 3 pubs)
Vianney Denis ( 3 pubs)
Gal Eyal ( 6 pubs)
Saki Harii ( 6 pubs)
Yosi Loya ( 6 pubs)
Tim Noyes ( 2 pubs)
Tyler Smith ( 20 pubs)
Tali Treibitz ( 2 pubs)