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7 February 2013, by Tom Marshall.

The chemicals that give some corals their luminous pink and red colours also protect them from damage caused by too much sunlight, scientists have shown.

The idea isn't altogether new, but this is the first conclusive evidence for it. Corals need light to survive, but too much can kill them, so they've evolved various countermeasures.

This research adds another to their arsenal – chemicals known as chromoproteins (CPs), which turn out to absorb potentially harmful portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

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Smith, E.G., D'Angelo, C., Salih, A., Wiedenmann, J. Screening by coral green fluorescent protein (GFP)-like chromoproteins supports a role in photoprotection of zooxanthellae. Coral Reefs. DOI: 10.1007/s00338-012-0994-9