More Corals

The Ocean Blog

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...
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...
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...
Visitors to the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef temporary exhibit at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History saw both the main installation created by to the Institute For Figuring and the...
Red coral necklaces fill a store display window. The United States annually imports around one million live coral animals from tropical reefs for use in aquariums, and is the largest documented...
This close-up photograph of gold coral ( Gerardia sp. ) was taken at the Cross Seamount in the Pacific Ocean at a depth of 400 m (1,312 ft). Gold corals at this location can have lifespans of 2,000...
Boring sponges get a bad rap. Their own name betrays them, announcing to the world that they are unexciting, ordinary and quite frankly, boring. However, if ever a misnomer existed, this is it. More...
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...
Ocean acidification is sometimes called “climate change’s equally evil twin,” and for good reason: it's a significant and harmful consequence of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that we don't...
Deep-sea corals scientist Dr. J. Murray Roberts photographed these living polyps from the Mingulay Reef Complex off Scotland in aquaria in 2010. Learn more about Roberts' work mapping deep-sea corals...
These corals from the Smithsonian collections are Stephanocyathus (A.) spiniger , a solitary, deep-water stony coral species. Around 74% of all deep-water corals are solitary, living as individual...
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...
Smithsonian zoologist Dr. Steve Cairns named and described this deep-sea coral species, Stephanocyathus paliferus, which is now preserved in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History...
The pink strands of this single deep-sea coral harbor a variety of marine life. Sea whips are gorgonian corals and have flexible skeletons. See more pictures of coral in our Deep-sea Corals article.
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...
An orange brisingid starfish sits on a large reef of Lophelia pertusa, cold-water corals in the Gulf of Mexico, at 450 m depth as a school of fish swims above. They have many arms—up to 20!—covered...
What is coral bleaching? These white corals in the Gulf of Mexico’s Flower Garden Bank National Marine Sanctuary are bleached due to an increase in water temperatures, which causes corals to lose the...
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...
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