Scientific Publication in Marine Biology - Coral Physiology/ Biochemistry team - Research Unit on the Biology of Precious Corals CSM – CHANEL

Scientists at the CSM - Chanel Precious Coral Biology Research Unit have achieved a breakthrough in the study of corals, and particularly the complex mechanism of calcification, thanks to the transfer of an innovative injection technique previously used in fish research. 

Coral calcification, a process by which these marine organisms build their skeleton through the deposition of calcium carbonate and organic molecules, is an area that is still shrouded in mystery. Despite advanced knowledge at the cellular and physiological level, the precise mechanisms governing this phenomenon remain largely unexplored, mainly due to the difficulties associated with existing research methods. This limitation is mainly due to the lack of tools to genetically manipulate in these organisms. Currently, the study of the effects of molecules of interest in the aquarium is complex due to the exposure time, the high cost of the compounds, their quantity, and their diffusion in seawater. 

It's in this context that the new injection method, described in the journal “Limnology and Oceanography: Methods”, marks a turning point. It involves injecting the coral with an emulsion of coconut oil and water, which has the particularity of solidifying at a temperature of 15°C, the condition under which red coral is grown. The use of coconut oil is strategic, taking advantage of its unique phase transition - solid above 25°C and liquid below 21°C - to create an efficient vehicle for hydrophilic or lipophilic compounds.

The main advantage of this approach is that it enables the delivery of substances that can influence the calcification process. Identifying molecules that stimulate calcification could not only improve our understanding of the underlying mechanisms, but also help to grow corals in the lab before reintroducing them to their natural environment.

Forin C., Loentgen G., Allemand D., Tambutté S., Ganot P. In vivo injection of exogenous molecules into octocorals: Application to the study of calcification. Limnology and Oceanography Methods. Online version  


Pour plus de renseignements, veuillez contacter :
Dr Philippe Ganot
Mlle Clémence Forin