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Southampton researchers find reef coral sunscreens

Cabbage and bubble corals Credit: Christiane Oelrich/DPA/Press Association Images

New research by the University of Southampton has found out how corals use their pink and purple hues as sunscreen to protect them against harmful sunlight. Many reef corals need light to survive, but, in the shallow water of coral reefs, light levels are often higher than required by the corals.

Working in the Great Barrier Reef and in the Coral Reef Laboratory of the University, the team of researchers produced experimental evidence that the pink and purple chromoproteins can act as sunscreens for the symbiotic algae by removing parts of the light that might otherwise become harmful.

Reef firm has ceased trading

Surfers learning on the beach away from the artificial reef Credit: ITV Meridian

The company which built the artificial surf reef in Dorset has ceased trading. Boscombe's £3.2m reef has been out of action since May last year after it was damaged by a boat propeller. New Zealand based ASR limited was due to carry out repairs.

Bournemouth Borough Council says its liquidation was unlikely to affect its plans to restore it, and it will continue to pursue an insurance claim for the damage. The reef, made of 55 giant sand-filled bags 740ft out at sea, opened in November 2009 after lengthy delays and running over budget.

The reef has been out of action since last year after it was damaged by a boat propelle Credit: ITV Meridian