Cold-water corals of the species Lophelia pertusa are able to fuse skeletons of genetically distinct individuals.
On dives with JAGO, a research submersible stationed at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, scientists from Scotland and Germany made the first-ever discovery of branches of different colours that had flawlessly merged.
The researchers explain, how the ability to fuse supports the stability of coral reefs and thus contributes to the success of corals as reef-builders of the deep sea.
Stony corals of the species Lophelia pertusa are considered excellent reef-builders. According to the latest findings of researchers from the Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the University of Glasgow and the United States Geological Survey, even genetically different individuals are able to fuse their skeletons.
On an expedition with the German submersible JAGO and the research vessel POSEIDON, the scientists observed this for the first time ever at two reefs off the coast of central Norway.