More Corals

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...
Dr. Brendan Roark discusses different methods of sampling deep-sea corals with undergraduate students Sam Kuykendall, left, and Beth Stockert, center, in the Stable Isotope Geosciences Facility at...
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...
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...
It is easy to feel hopeless when reading the news coverage of ocean conservation. Between climate change , acidification , pollution and overfishing, it often feels like the ocean and its...
Deep-sea coral beds are true biodiversity hotspots. It’s urgent that we study these extreme environments because we know so little about them, because they are important communities for so many deep-...
What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building corals have tiny plant-like organisms living in their tissue. The corals couldn’t survive without these microscopic algae–...
This colony of Lophelia pertusa was photographed from the Mingulay Reef Complex off Scotland in 2005. Learn more about the deep-sea coral reefs in our Deep-sea Corals article.
Scientists at the Smithsonian and partnering organizations have discovered a remarkably primitive eel in a fringing reef off the coast of the Republic of Palau . This fish exhibits many primitive...
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...
If you look closely, you can read a message in the corals. We are not being metaphorical. Barry and Aimee Brown set out to search for hidden letters among brain coral colonies two years ago near the...
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...
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...
The People's Reef, a part of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef , from above. The HCCR was created by Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring and is on exhibit at Smithsonian's...
Bikini Atoll, formed over millions of years around an island in the Pacific Ocean about halfway between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii, has been subjected to horrific human-caused disturbances. Between...
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...
A piece of the Institute For Figuring’s Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef known as the Ladies Silurian Atoll. The HCCR exhibit was on display in the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian's National Museum...
Close to the volcanic CO 2 seeps, the vast diversity of corals that exists in less-acidic waters is replaced by a "monoculture" of boulder corals. These are less fragile and better suited to life in...
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