RESOURCES: Reefs of the Deep

Science  11 Aug 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5788, pp. 739
DOI: 10.1126/science.313.5788.739d

You won't see the pink octocoral in a languid tropical lagoon. The beauty crowns a volcanic chimney more than 1700 meters below the surface off the coast of British Columbia. For an introduction to the corals that dwell in the ocean depths, plunge into, created by ecologists Andrew Davies and J. Murray Roberts of the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban, U.K. Named for a widespread type of coral, the site offers a primer on the animals' biology, including how they survive in the cold and dark. Deep-sea corals are exclusively carnivorous, unlike many shallow-water species that garner energy from algae inhabiting their tissues. Case studies feature photos and video clips of chilly reefs from the Aleutian Islands, Norway's coast, and other areas. You can also read about possible threats to deep-water corals such as bottom-trawling nets and oil drilling.

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