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Ultraviolet light illuminates the growth rings in a cross-section of a 44-year-old deep-sea coral ( Primnoa resedaeformis ) collected off the coast of Newfoundland at about 1,300 feet (400 meters). Similar to tree trunks,...
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Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they...
Bikini Atoll, formed over millions of years around an island in the Pacific...
Coral reefs are bustling cities of marine life, until rising ocean temperatures...

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In this photo of a shallow coral reef in the Pacific there are three species of forams . On the left, Peneroplis planatus . In the center, Amphistegina lessonii . And on the right, Laevipeneroplis sp. Their colors come from the...
This deep-sea black coral from Hawaii ( Leiopathes sp. ) is more than 4,200...
These cancer cells have been treated with discodermolide, a chemical...

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It may be the last place you’d expect to find corals—up to 6,000 m (20,000 ft) below the ocean’s surface, where the water is...

The Ocean Blog

A crown-of-thorns starfish ( Acanthaster planci ) on a reef in the Marianas Islands. An “outbreak” of these coral-eating starfish can decimate a reef, and they have done great damage on Australia's...
The majestic and highly predatory red lionfish ( Pterois volitans ) , native to the Indo-Pacific, is invading Atlantic waters. The lionfish is a popular home aquarium species, and some were most...
Corals, sponges, and algae are the major components of most coral reef communities. To the untrained eye, they are sometimes difficult to tell apart. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in...
An aerial photo of Carrie Bow Cay and the Smithsonian research station looking north with Twin Cays in the background. The Smithsonian’s Carrie Bow Cay Marine Field Station supports research projects...
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 .
A thicket of white stony coral ( Lophelia pertusa ) shelters a squat lobster (Eumunida picta). This is the typical shape of this widespread species of deep-sea coral. See more pictures of coral in...
This purple urchin Paleopneustes cristatus is seldom seen by itself, and can be found in groups of hundreds. Dr. Dave Pawson , a senior scientist at NMNH who studies deep-sea echinoderms, is testing...
Black corals, like this one growing on the Manning Seamount off the New England coast, often resemble bushes or trees. Contrary to its name, the living tissue of black coral can be one of several...
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-...
Dr. Amy Baco-Taylor dives to deep-sea environments to study corals and the invertebrates that live in them. Learn how she became interested in deep-sea corals , and explore more in the multimedia...
Rockfish, anemones, and other invertebrates inhabit this deep-sea coral reef in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of California. Deep-sea corals provide habitat and benefits to a...
On Moorea, an island in French Polynesia, researchers are striving to complete a biocode—a DNA catalog of every life form big enough to pick up with tweezers.
The festive Christmas tree worm ( Spirobranchus giganteus ) lives on tropical coral reefs and resembles a fluffy fir tree adorned with ornaments. The multi-functional branch-like appendages are used...
In November 2012, Australia began protecting a huge swath of its ocean from overfishing and oil exploration, creating the largest network of marine reserves in the world at a grand total of 1.2...
When we think "Africa," we think of the "Big Five"—lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos—that crisscross the African Savannah. Few would imagine that there could be more natural beauty on...
See a few of the many species of deep-sea corals that have been discovered by scientists just since 2004. Learn about more deep-sea discoveries in our Deep-sea Corals article.
Two events made me passionate about deep-sea corals . One was my first submarine dive in a deep-sea coral bed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu. There was an incredibly lush community of corals and...
The Johnson-Sea-Link submersible reaches the ocean’s surface with a specimen of Keratoisis bamboo coral inside its collection box. Find out how ocean scientists study deep-sea corals in our Deep-sea...
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