Nutrition
 
 

Explanations for other possible functions of mucous nets in corals in addition to the obvious one of feeding:

Mucous nets confer protection from predators. Yes, this is possible, and should be able to be tested in experiments.

Mucous nets aid in release of excretory wastes. No. The main metabolic excretory waste, ammonium, is soluble and diffuses readily into the surrounding water.

Mucous nets help to keep the colony clean. Yes, this is the view of many scientists. However, some researchers have observed that many species of corals seem to become more fouled by particulates when they produce mucous nets than when they don't. However, this makes sense, because how else could a coral benefit from mucus-net feeding if it doesn't produce sticky nets when surrounded by lots of potentially edible particulates?

Mucous nets assist in the removal of fecal wastes. No, after their release the undigested food residues are carried away in water currents.

As in many other marine animals, mucus helps protect the colony from stressful conditions. This is possible, but as yet there appears to be no correlation between production of mucous nets and environmental stress.

Mucous nets prevent settlement of colonising organisms such as larvae or plant spores onto the coral surface. Yes, this is a good idea and would be experimentally testable.

Mucous nets help to prevent fungal or bacterial infections. Yes, this is possible, and also could be tested.

 
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