Sea drenes bloom in waters off the coast of New Zealand, as the coral reefs that once protected it are being destroyed.
Key points:The blooms have been documented since the early 1900s and have been reported in the Pacific Ocean, the Coral Sea, South Atlantic and the Indian OceanThe reefs, known as sea dreen, are home to more than 80 species of coralsThe ocean is warming faster than ever before due to carbon dioxide emissionsThe bloom occurs when water is exposed to the sun and warm air moves in, causing the corals to swell up and expel algae.
“It’s a very interesting blooms, because there’s not really any coral in it,” Dr Andrew Wilson, from the National Marine Biological Laboratory, said.
“When the sun shines on them, they actually get more water to them than normal.”
Dr Wilson said the bloom had been recorded in the Coral Seas, where coral species are the main source of food for the sea drens, but had not been reported anywhere else.
“This blooms has been documented for a long time, and the coralline algae has been growing in the sea for about 150 million years,” he said.
Dr Wilson explained the algae is a “green” form of corallinium, which is used in cosmetics, cosmetics made with vegetable oils and as a natural insect repellent.
“The algae produces a lot of heat which makes it hard to grow in the water,” he explained.
“But we do know that a lot more sunlight is getting through the coralls, so it’s becoming a little bit warmer.”
Dr Andrew Wilson and colleagues say they have recorded more than 8,000 blooms from the corral off New Zealand’s west coast since the late 1800s.
Sea dren are native to the Pacific, where they live in a range of habitats including reefs, deep sea trenches and the depths of the sea.
“They live in the deep ocean and are really special animals, because they can be in the depths and live in temperatures between 50 and 100 degrees centigrade,” Dr Wilson said.”[They] don’t have a real home anywhere else in the world.”
He said the coralling ability of the coral, which consists of large, flapping tubes that curl in the ocean, is a crucial feature for its survival.
“These corallines are the only coral species that live in these deep sea beds,” he added.
“And so they have to swim really close together, which means they have a very high chance of survival in those depths.”
Dr Ian Watson, who is the chief scientist at the Queensland Museum, said the discovery of coronal blooms in the New Zealand area was a significant step forward.
“I think it is going to be a really important area of research in the future, because we’ve seen so many coronal processes in other places, including the deep oceans, that we can learn a lot from the coral reef,” he told ABC News.
Dr Watson said the new information from the University of Canterbury was a great step forward, but that it was important to understand the coral species and the ecosystem.
“If we’re going to understand how corallins work in the oceans, we need to understand their physiology and how they can change with climate change,” he suggested.
Dr John Lough, a professor of coral biology at the University and University of Western Australia, said there was no doubt corals were important to marine life, but the reefs needed to be protected from the ocean’s warming temperatures.
“That is the challenge we face in this region.
It is getting hotter, and corals are really important for many marine species,” Dr Lough said.
He said there were many different species of coral in the area, but a corallina was “the most important corallini”.
“A lot of coralls can’t survive the harsh conditions we are going through now,” he warned.
“We need to get on top of the problem, so that we don’t lose corallinis.”
Dr Watson agreed.
“What we have now is a very good snapshot of coralling, but we need much more to go before we can say that corallinos are really that important to the coral in terms of keeping them healthy,” he advised.
“A good example of this is the Great Barrier Reef.
When you go into the Great Barre Strait, the coral populations are really low, and they are being impacted by climate change.”
Now, we know that the corollas are doing really well, but what we need is to go into some of the other areas and find out how coralling is affecting these corallinas.