Coral reefs need fish urine to thrive

Coral reefs need fish urine to thrive

More fishing means less fish urine, and that’s a bad thing.

Mary Jo DiLonardo colorful fish swimming above coral

Coral reefs and fish are dependent upon each other. (Photo: Derek Keats/flickr)

The colorful fish that dart in, around and above coral reefs depend on the environment’s craggy folds for camouflage and protection. And it’s not a one-way relationship. The fish return the favor in the form of nutrient-rich urine.

When fish urinate, they release phosphorous into the water. They also excrete nitrogen through their gills, and both are vital for the growth and survival of coral reefs, according to 2012 research from the University of Georgia and Florida International University. Read more.