Boulder Star Coral
Many reef plants and animals contain medicinal compounds.
Creatures found in coral ecosystems are important sources of new medicines being developed to induce and ease labor, as well as treat cancer, arthritis, asthma,ulcers, human bacterial infections, heart disease, viruses, and other diseases. Besides being the source of potentially useful chemical compounds, the porous limestone skeleton of corals has been tested for use as bone grafts in humans, demonstrating much lower rates of rejection than with artificial grafting materials.
Close-up of a single Montastraea sp. (commonly known as boulder star coral) polyp within a colony. Live coral specimen in artificial seawater imaged with Olympus MVX Fluorescent Macroscope and filters from Chroma Technology.
James H. Nicholson, NOAA.