Studying Deep-Sea Corals

What happens to deep-sea coral samples after they are collected? In this image gallery, see some of the ways ocean scientists sort, measure, photograph, and study them. Learn more in the multimedia feature "Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea."  

After ocean scientists sort deep-sea coral samples into their different types, they measure and photograph the specimens.
Marine scientists photographed and measured this gorgonian coral and deep-sea shrimp just as they were collected—together. A marine scientist performs a genetic analysis on a sample of deep-sea coral to find out if it is a known or new species.White growth emerges from a deep-sea coral sample stained pink to enable ocean scientists to measure its growth rate. Searching for useful chemicals, ocean scientists grow bacteria associated with deep-sea coral on nutrient agar. Smithsonian zoologist Dr. Steve Cairns named and described this deep-sea coral species, Stephanocyathus paliferus, now preserved at the National Museum of Natural History.