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November 9 2012

Fish 'Bodyguards' Protect Coral from Seaweed Attack

When one kind of coral is under attack from killer seaweed, it sends chemical signals to little fish "bodyguards" that come to its rescue and handily take care of the problem, new research shows.

In their experiments, a group of scientists exposed sets of a rapidly growing coral from around Fiji (Acropora nasuta), to filaments of the seaweed species Chlorodesmis fastigiata, which is chemically toxic to corals. Some corals in the study were occupied by one-inch fish called gobies, which, within minutes, would begin neatly biting away at the offending seaweed.

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