Fish pay back to ecosystem by offering their urine

Many fish species get shelter and protection from coral reefs, as a return to which fish offer urine to the ecosystem.

A latest research, which appeared in the journal Nature Communications, disclosed that inadequate fish urine is responsible for the insufficient nutrients around corals in waters where occurrence of commercial fishing usually takes place.

Typically, fish take shelter in and around corals in the daytime and urinate vital nutrients. During night they find food in and around the reef.

As a result of this setup, both fish and corals get benefits. On peeing, fish discharge phosphorus and nitrogen in ammonium form via their gills, serving as significant nutrients for growth of coral reefs.

Coral reefs’ health and growth are affected by any change in the level of nutrients. A previous study has demonstrated that growth of coral reefs with healthy fish populations is faster in comparison to the ones having smaller fish population.

Jacob Allgeier, study researcher from the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, mentioned about the significance of animals in coral reefs, as they help in the movement of the nutrients around.

Fish possess a huge part of the nutrients in a coral reef in their tissues, thus they also play a significant role in their recycling. It means removal of fishes also removes nutrients from the ecosystem.

Allgeier said, “Simply stated, fish biomass in coral reefs is being reduced by fishing pressure. If biomass is shrinking, there are fewer fish to pee”.

During the research, Allgeier along with his colleagues calculated the nutrient levels at different corals reefs and discovered that the level of important nutrients was more in reefs having greater predatory fish population, while the reefs with only some huge fishes possessed poor nutrient levels.