Crest Middle School Shout Outs Part III

       How can coral survive in the deep ocean?

Corals can survive in the deep ocean because they are adapted to living in extreme conditions (high pressure, darkness, cold temperatures, high currents). Unlike their shallow water counterparts, deep-sea corals do not require sunlight because they don’t have the symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) that tropical coral reefs have. Whereas shallow water corals rely on zooxanthellae to  produce “food” through photosynthesis,  deep-sea corals must capture their own food from the water column.

           Are all the corals in the canyons colorful?

       Deep-sea corals, and the animals living around them, are usually very colorful. Color can vary depending on the species. There are many different colors represented in the coral habitats, but we have seen mostly yellow, red, pink, and orange corals.

            How many different kinds of corals are there?

Approximately 71 species of corals occur off the coast of the Northeastern United States (Maine to North Carolina). New species will likely be discovered as we continue to study and explore little known areas such as submarine canyons.

          What types of organisms live around deep-sea corals?

Many different types of invertebrates, including anemones, squid, marine worms, crustaceans (squat lobsters, shrimps, crabs), starfish, and deep-water octopus, as well as fishes are observed in and around deep-sea coral habitats.

          Are there sting rays?

We have not seen any sting rays, but we have observed some deepwater skates, that are relatives of sting rays.

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