Researchers Uncovering Coral Diversity in Peru

Written by on February 5, 2014 in Other News

Daily Summary

Soft coral in the Pacific.

Soft coral in the Pacific. Photo credit: NOAA Ocean Explorer via photopin cc.

Firey-Red Coral Species Discovered in the Peruvian Pacific, Smithsonian Reports
Researchers have discovered a new coral species (Psammogorgia hookeri) that may be endemic — found no where else in the world. This fiery-red coral species was collected by scuba divers at depths of up to 25 meters in Peru’s Paracas National Reserve. According to the researchers, “coral communities in Peru have never been systematically studied.” With support from the Peruvian National Protected Areas Service, researchers are learning much more about the biodiversity of corals and other marine invertebrates in Peru’s waters.

Chesapeake blue crab.

Chesapeake blue crab. Photo credit: jerryoldenettel via photopin cc.

Scientists discover key hormone that makes it possible for female crabs to mate and care for their young
Scientists recently discovered an interesting hormone in the eyestalks of blue crabs (Calinectes sapidus). The crustacean female sex hormone (CSFH) is required for maternal care, regulating the development of structures that make it possible for female crabs to mate and care for their eggs. Female blue crabs mate only once in their lives, making this hormone critical. It triggers the development of spermathecae, a pair of receptacles that store sperm from the male crab. The sperm lives in those sacs for up to two years and can be used several times to produce more fertilized eggs.

Orcas in the wild.

Orcas in the wild. Photo credit: Dave Ellifrit, NOAA.

“Severe reduction” in killer whale numbers during last Ice Age
By studying the DNA sequences of killer whale communities around the word, researchers found that the number of killer whales severely declined around 40,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. The decline in whale numbers, which could have been due to a reduced food supply, resulted in a loss of genetic diversity. The only exception was found in a killer whale population off the coast of South Africa that maintained variations in genetic diversity. The researchers suggest that further research looking at the genetic diversity of other top predators such as sharks might suggest a negative impact on their numbers too. These findings could support concerns about the impact of climate change.

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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  1. Geoff Read says:

    Firey? Looks odd. Yes from ‘Fire’ but even in the USA the adjective is still spelled Fiery. Counterintuitive, but everyone agrees on it. A ‘Firey’ would be informal for a Australian fireman. They do that sort of thing a lot.

  2. Emily says:

    Looks a little odd, but you’ll have to tell the people at Smithsonian…it’s their title!