New mutualistic relationship discovered

Article Summary:

The journal Science has published a paper by Danielle L. Dixson and Mark E. Hay that shows that when Acropora nasuta coral is attacked by toxic seaweeds, it responds by chemically cuing symbiotic goby fishes (Gobiodon histrio or Paragobiodon echinocephalus) to remove the toxic seaweed (Chlorodesmis fastigiata). Their experiments showed that within minutes of seaweed contact, the coral releases a chemical that recruits gobies to trim the seaweed and dramatically reduce potential damage to the coral. In turn, the chemically defended gobies become more toxic after consumption of this noxious alga, deterring predators.