According to the latest study published in the Nature Communications journal, fish urine is crucial for the health of coral reefs. The secretions contain nutrients that are adamant for the harmonious growth of the reefs.
An ecosystem is an interconnected environment where every being is essential for the survival of another. The best location where such a symbiotic relation can be observed is the ocean. Every single organism under water is vital for the wellbeing of another species.
Without plankton there would be no whales, without shrimp there would be no anemone, and, according to the latest research, without fish urine there would be no coral reefs.
Scientists have discovered that fish urine contains nitrogen and phosphorus. The ammonium from their excrements is a major source of nutrients, a vital substance that allows coral to grow. In exchange for pee, coral offers the fish protection and food.
Unfortunately, in areas where commercial fishing is expanding, the coral reef is affected as the population of fish diminishes along with the quantity of ammonia released on the reefs.
Jacob Allgeier, study researcher from Washington’s University School of Fishery and Aquatic Sciences declared that animals are vital in maintaining healthy reefs, due to the fact that they move nutrients around.
Not only is fish urine important in the feeding process of corals, but the fish themselves have high amounts of nutritious substances in their blood, thus contributing to a natural recycling cycle.
“Simply stated, fish biomass in coral reefs is being reduced by fishing pressure. If biomass is shrinking, there are fewer fish to pee.”
In order to obtain these results, Allgeier and his colleagues analyzed the levels of nutrients found in different coral reefs. They chose locations where fishing was scarce and places where commercial fisheries were monopolizing the waters.
They concluded that the health of corals depended on the population of fish, more precise big, predatory fish.
Researchers also found that the amount of eliminated nitrogen is directly proportional to the size of the animal. Moreover, bigger, carnivorous fish registered bigger phosphorus levels in their excrements as opposed to smaller, herbivore species.
Allgeier and his team hope that the new paper will contribute to the global efforts of maintaining the health of the global reefs.
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