Arctic animal of the day 26: coldwater corals

Arctic animal of the day 26. Coral reefs are not just restricted to Australia and tropical waters. In fact, there are many species of coral which live in cold deep waters, and some of them build large reefs from their exoskeletons at depths of 2000m!! The coldwater coral Lophelia is common in Norwegian waters and forms its biggest reefs within the Arctic circle. These corals are very different from those making up, for example, the Great Barrier Reef. Tropical corals generally contain algae in their tissues which help the corals out in many ways, using their digestive products, and allowing them to grow very quickly. But because those corals contain algae, they can only live in relatively shallow waters, where the light conditions are good for their algae. Lophelia don’t contain algae, and grow more slowly, but they have still managed to form a reef 40 kilometers long by 3 kilometers wide in the Lofoten Islands, where they experience good feeding conditions! 🙂

 

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