Fish that munch on corals wind up helping those very same corals survive by pooping on them, researchers have found.
Rice University marine biologist Adrienne Correa told Science Daily that the feces of coral-eating fish have algae that corals need to survive:
“The message is, ‘Move over grazers, it’s not just you helping maintain coral dominance. These coral-eating fishes are probably helping too by spreading beneficial coral symbionts.'”
Correa and her colleagues followed fish along a coral reef in French Polynesia and noted where those fish ate as well as where they defecated. After collecting some of the feces, they studied it in a lab and found a whole bunch of living symbionts.
Check out the full story here.