More Corals

Reef sharks rarely get any love. These sharks, comprising several species, loiter around coral reefs, snacking on small fish, squids and crustaceans. And while their size is nothing to smirk at—5-10...
The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) SeaBed, shown here as it is about to be deployed, has been used to survey deep-sea fishes and coral habitats. Learn more about how underwater vehicles study...
Compare the healthy coral on the left with the bleached coral on the right. Increased water temperatures caused the bleached coral to lose the microscopic algae that give the coral color and provide...
How does a coral spend its day? Most of us would say: not doing much. To the human eye, a coral looks relatively still, waiting in the current and hoping some food will run into its tentacles. But...
The robotic arm of a Pisces submersible collects a gold coral colony ( Gerardia sp.) during a research cruise in the Hawaiian Islands. Ocean scientists have radiocarbon-dated some Gerardia specimens...
When coral reefs are damaged, they sometimes struggle to grow back because there aren't enough coral seedlings around, and the ones that are around are growing together too closely. Enter: the coral...
Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they differ in color, shape, and size. Explore more in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."
Scientists don’t often get the opportunity to travel through time. But nestled among the beautiful coral reefs of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a place that provides a glimpse today of what could be the...
The toothy goby or common ghost goby ( Pleurosicya mossambica ) lives among soft corals and sponges in the Indo-Pacific ocean. The relationship it has with its host is commensal , which means the...
Dr. Stephen Cairns is a research zoologist and chair of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. His research focuses on the diversity,...
Dead man’s fingers ( Alcyonium digitatum ) are soft corals named for their appendage-like appearance when thrown ashore by storms. The finger-like clumps of coral polyps come in various shades of...
Imagine you’re an alien seeing Planet Earth for the first time. What do you see from your spacecraft? A blue planet with over 70% of its surface covered by ocean. From space it’s obvious how...
The robotic arm of the Jason, a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), collects several stalks of black coral from the seafloor. Read more about how underwater vehicles help ocean scientists study deep-sea...
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 .
Far away from the volcanic CO 2 seeps, a healthy coral reef flourishes with a diversity of coral species. Closer to the seeps where the water is acidic, the corals barely even grow. Read more about...
Portrait of a yellow-green blennie ( family Clinidae ) hiding in the groove of a green brain coral.
A large white coral (Corallium sp.) grows on the Balanus Seamount, part of the New England Seamount chain. Hanging on to the coral are stalkless crinoids and orange brittlestars (Opiacantha sp.) To...
Colorful corals and brittlestars inhabit the Manning Seamount in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of New England. Here you can see golden-colored coral (Enallopsamia rostrata), pinkish-brown coral (...
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