Together with an international team of researchers, divers from the University of Southampton, UK, Tel Aviv University and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences (IUI), Israel have found a colorful range of pigments in coral more than 50 meters below the surface of Red Sea reefs. Since only blue wavelengths from the sun reach coral at depths past 50 meters, the team was surprised to find specimens exhibiting pigments such as red and yellow. Jörg Wiedenmann, Professor of Biological Oceanography and head of the University of Southampton’s Coral Reef Laboratory, explains: “These fluorescent pigments are proteins. When they are illuminated with blue or ultraviolet light, they give back light of longer wavelengths, such as reds or greens.” Dr Cecilia D’Angelo, Senior Research Fellow at Southampton sees a future for coral pigment use in industries such as biomedical adding: “We found, however, that some of the pigments of these corals require violet light to switch from their nascent green color to the red hue of the mature pigment. This is a particularly interesting property to develop markers for advanced microscopic imaging applications. Their optical properties potentially make them important tools for biomedical imaging applications, as their fluorescent glow can be used to highlight living cells or cellular structures of interest under the microscope. They could also be applied to track cancer cells or as tools to screen for new drugs.” Read more here!