Evolutionary origins of coral sex unravelled

August 3rd, 2010 - 3:12 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Aug 3 (ANI): Scientists at University of Guam Marine Lab have uncovered the evolutionary origins of coral sex.

In a new study, researchers have found that ancient corals consisted of mostly separate sexes and needed to pass through an evolutionarily period in which they brooded their young before they could become spawning hermaphrodites.

“Most species of corals on tropical reefs are hermaphrodites and participate in one of nature’s most amazing spectacles, an annual mass spawning in which shallow moonlit waters rapidly fill with a ‘blizzard’ of brightly colored eggs,” said Alexander Kerr, senior author of the study.

“The evolutionary origins of coral sex turn out to be surprisingly complex. The reason for this round-about pathway from separate sex to hermaphrodite is uncertain, but is likely related to the rigors of existence on shallow, tropical reefs,” she added.

The study has been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (ANI)

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