Boulder Star Coral
Coral reefs cover less than one percent of the ocean floor but support an estimated 25 percent of all marine life.
No other ecosystem occupies such a limited area with more life forms. For this reason, reefs are often compared to rainforests, which are the only other ecosystem that can boast anywhere near the amount of biodiversity found on a reef. In addition to scores of invertebrate species and macrofauna (sharks, sea turtles, etc.), coral reefs support more than 800 hard coral species and more than 4,000 species of fish.
Group of Montastraea annularis sp. (commonly known as boulder star coral) polyps; skeleton, highlighted by reflected BF light, provides backdrop to green fluorescence of the polyps. Live coral specimen in artificial seawater imaged with Olympus MVX Fluorescent Macroscope and filters from Chroma Technology.
James H. Nicholson, NOAA.