More Corals

Nine years ago I was invited by a colleague to join a research team investigating deep-sea coral habitats . I was asked to examine the invertebrates associated with these ecosystems. After my first...
How do you make science sing? Just ask a couple of female scientists to sing about their research interests and their passion is quickly conveyed in a quirky little tune. Informative, inspiring, and...
Near the intense volcanic CO 2 vents bubbling from the cracks in the seafloor, the water is so acidic that it dissolves coral skeletons. Read more about how reef scientist Laetitia Plaisance uses...
This bubblegum coral ( Paragorgia arborea ) has a fanlike shape. It is growing 1,310 m (4,298 ft) deep on the Davidson Seamount southwest of Monterey, California. Learn more about deep-sea corals in...
This map shows where some of the most significant species of deep-sea corals are located. Learn more about the distribution and ecology of deep ocean corals in the article " Coral Gardens of the Deep...
This 200-year-old bamboo coral colony is growing on the Davidson Seamount off the coast of California. The skeleton of this deep-sea coral has bamboo-like segments. See more pictures of coral in our...
In the past 30 years, the Great Barrier Reef -- Australia's iconic natural wonder -- has lost half of its coral to a combination of forces. Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair of Marine Science at the...
The small larvae of elkhorn coral ( Acropora palmata ) settle and grow on the crustose coralline algae species Hydrolithon boergesenii .
Ocean scientists recently discovered this new species of black coral off the coast of southern California. It was named the “Christmas tree” coral, Antipathes dendrochristos , in 2005 because of its...
Flower-like clusters of polyps make up this coral colony. Their pink color comes from the zooxanthellae living inside. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in our Coral Reefs featured story .
Sea stars are important members of marine ecosystems, especially in the tropics. We may think of tropical coral reefs as being home mainly to fish and corals, but in fact these habitats are home to a...
Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic...
Convict surgeonfish ( Acanthurus triostegus ) are the roaming sheep of the reef but, instead of noshing on grass, they feed on algae. Their grazing helps to balance the growth of algae and coral on...
Corals are sedentery animals, so how do they reproduce? One way is sexually through spawning , when the corals release eggs and sperm into the water (often at the same time due to some sort of...
A bright orange sea star ( Novodinia antillensis ) clings to a large white soft coral ( Paragorgia sp.). This photo was taken on the Manning Seamount at a depth of 1,350 meters (4,429 feet) by the...
Coral sand is aptly named: it's sand made up of tiny bits of coral and other ocean animals such as foraminifera , molluscs, and crustaceans. This image, taken at 100x zoom, took 18th place in the...
Branching corals, because of their more fragile structure, struggle to survive in acidified waters that surround the volcanic CO 2 seeps of Papua New Guinea. Read more about how reef scientist...
Shown here are several deep-sea coral species: From left to right is an unidentified purple octocoral, a small gold acanthorgorgiid octocoral, and a large colony of pink Corallium secundum . Basket...
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