North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Life on the Edge: Exploring Deep Ocean Habitats - NC Museum of Natural Sciences
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Q: How is deep-sea coral different than coral found in shallow reefs?

Coral A: Deep- sea corals are slow-growing stony corals that have adapted to life in cold dark waters. These corals lack the light dependent symbiotic algae found in many colorful shallow water corals. The corals found off of the Carolinas have pure white branches that form dense thickets. When the branches die they accumulate in gray mounds several meters deep and hundreds of meters long. This huge accumulation of matter creates faster bottom currents which helps the filter-feeding corals thrive. These deep water reefs provide shelter and food for many types of fishes and invertebrates.


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