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Marine Roundup

September 23, 2011

A fish out of water makes a name for itself, and how corals avoid sunburn.



A fish that’s a landlubber. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The Pacific leaping blenny is a fish that does its best to stay out of the water, according to a study published in the journal Ethology. The fish hides in submerged rock crevices during high tides, and then emerges after the water recedes to defend its territory and look for mates, scampering over rocks on its pectoral fins. Even though the little fish isn’t related to the first fish to emerge onto land hundreds of millions of years ago, the scientists says that studying it could offer clues to how those ancient fish managed to conquer the terrestrial environment.

In other marine science news, researchers from Kings College London have discovered a compound that tropical corals use to avoid sunburn. It even protects fish eating the coral. The scientists are determining whether it could be a useful sunscreen for humans as well. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.