New microscope shows corals much more complex than thought

The new microscope, called the Benthic Underwater Microscope (BUM) helps the scientists view the corals in their environment.
By Jeremy Morrow | Aug 14, 2016
The marine organisms are one of the most unexplored on the planet. However, new technology is fast emerging to make studying of underwater creatures such as corals easier. Corals are made up of millions of little organisms called polyps.

The colonies work together and release a calcified substance that makes the coral reef. However up to this moment, scientists have only been able to sample the coral from the ocean and take it to the lab for experimentation. This has never shown the actual picture of the coral.

The new microscope, called the Benthic Underwater Microscope (BUM) helps the scientists view the corals in their environment. The Microsoft is fitted with an incredibly powerful camera to record the organism even at deem light. T is also created with powerful LED lights to increase the sharpness of the images. The microscope has small, flexible cameras to turned amongst the coral and viewed the polyps at different angles.

"To understand the evolution of the dynamic processes taking place in the ocean," said lead study author Jules Jaffe in a statement, "we need to observe them at the appropriate scale. This underwater microscope is the first instrument to image the seafloor at such small scales."

After a few recordings, the scientist learned that polyps are much more advanced as initially thought. They can be termed as a fully fledged society as they exhibit most characteristics of such groups. They noticed that the polyps would rub tentacles with each other after feeding in a dancing manner to share the food and ensure every member of the colony is fed. They also experienced colonies attacking other territories and taking over the coral of the defeated polyps.

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