If you're a tiny, single-celled animal like a protozoan, photosynthesis is a pretty neat ability, as being able to make food just by laying in the sun is significantly easier than going out and hunting down your own meals. Unfortunately for protozoa, photosynthesis is also a rather tricky proposition
, requiring millions of years of evolutionary practice to evolve. One species has developed its own workaround for that small problem, though -- it got the best of both worlds by absorbing algae cells and stealing the genes that control photosynthesis right out of their DNA.
Marine biologists have discovered a new type of coral that lives on the ceilings of underwater caves
where no coral has been found before. This bone white coral isn't just unique in where it lives, it also lacks the symbiotic algae that most corals depend on to survive
. That the new species, Leptoseris troglodyta,
doesn't carry this algae, known as zooxanthellae, may be a peculiar trick of evolution that makes it particularly suited towards life in the twilight caves it calls home.