Americanize Me
Featured Series: Americanize Me
In this Newsy original series, we travel the country — from the border towns of Texas to Dearborn, Michigan — to uncover the deliciously rich stories behind the foods we love.

Corals 'Kiss' And 'Fight,' Just Like You And Me

For the first time, researchers have been able to observe these coral behaviors in the ocean.

When organisms can't be studied in a lab, you have to bring the lab to them. 

Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego created an underwater microscope to study corals and their surprisingly humanlike behavior. 

In one study, they observed corals "fighting." Two different species of coral positioned next to each other sent enzymes toward each other in a form of chemical warfare. Yet, when the researchers put two of the same species next to each other, no fighting occurred. 

On that friendlier note, the researchers also observed coral polyps embracing each other in a mysterious phenomenon, known in the field as "kissing." The team believes it might be how the organisms exchange nutrients

Coral polyps are the organisms that attach to rocks, and each other, to form coral reefs. 

 SEE MORE: We're Killing Coral Reefs Faster Than Ever 

These extraordinary behaviors don't occur in the same way when coral is brought from the ocean to the lab. And to make the task of observing these behaviors even harder, they're happening on a millimeter scale. 

But the study's co-lead said, "The system is capable of seeing features as small as single cells underwater." 

For more on coral behavior, and how coral bleaching occurs, you can read the team's study in Nature Communications

This video includes clips from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

Featured Stories
Chicago skyline

What Are The 2 Chicagos?

Donald Trump and Swedish flag

Trump Clarifies 'What's Happening' In Sweden

Japanese-Americans registering for work, under the Work Corps plan for evacuees

75 Years Ago: An Executive Order Sent 120,000 Japanese Into Internment

Now Watching
Corals 'Kiss' And 'Fight,' Just Like You And Me
Want to see more stories like this?
Like Newsy on Facebook for More Animals Coverage