Corals: Species at Risk

Lophelia pertusa

Lophelia is a reef-forming coral that provides a highly complex habitat supporting as diverse an array of life as some shallow water reef communities. It is found in every ocean except in Polar regions. Most Lophelia reefs are found at depths of 650 to 3,300 feet, though the deepest so far discovered is nearly two miles beneath the surface of the Atlantic.

Mediterranean red coral

Corallium rubrum is endemic to the Mediterranean and adjacent African Atlantic waters. This species has been harvested since ancient times and is possibly the one in the worst condition. Up to 2,000 vessels have been dedicated to harvesting this coral using such destructive techniques like the crowbar (barra Italiana) or double cross (cruz de San Andrés).

Red trees and Bubblegum corals

The gorgonia Primnoa sp., also known as red tree corals or sea corn, and the bubblegum gorgonia Paragorgia arborea  can form great branching trees that reach many feet from the seabed. Red tree corals 7 feet tall and 25 feet wide have been observed by scientists in submersibles, and fishermen have reported bubblegum trees over ten feet tall and several inches thick.