Friday, September 26, 2014

Corals in Maine

Maine is perhaps the only state that's famous for a marine invertebrate.  We even celebrate those lobsters on our license plates.  But recently, Maine has been getting attention for a completely different type of marine invertebrate: our spectacular corals (and here).  If you think of corals only as colonial creatures that make reefs in tropical regions, this news may be surprising.  But several diverse taxa within the phylum Cnidaria are informally referred to as corals.  And some of them live in great abundance in Maine's deep waters.  These include stony corals in the order Scleractinia, which also includes the tropical reef builders.  In addition, there are Alcyonaceans (soft corals and sea fans), and Pennatulaceans (sea pens), with many families represented within each of these orders.  Definitely check out the slide show here; there are gorgeous sea anemones in addition to the abundant gorgonians, which are the stars of the show, comprising the "coral gardens."

No comments: