Stony coral in white light

Stony coral in white light

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Caption: Stony coral (Mycedium sp.) in white light. This coral harbours symbiotic algae which require light to photosynthesize and produce nutrients. It also contains pigments which fluoresce under blue or ultraviolet light. It is thought that in shallower waters, the fluorescent pigments in such organisms act as a sunscreen that prevents too much ultraviolet light damaging the algae. In deeper waters and lower light levels, it is thought that the fluorescent pigments absorb ultraviolet light and emit it at a wavelength which promotes photosynthesis in the algae. This image is part of a series showing the identical specimen in white light and blue light. Photographed in the Red Sea, Egypt.

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