Oceanus Magazine
Back to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Homepage

Images: Corals Under Ice

The polar research vessel Laurence M. Gould carried scientists studying marine invertebrates and plankton to Antarctica for a month-long expedition in 2006. (Photo by Rick Lichtenhan, R/V Laurence M. Gould)

Marine science technicians with Raytheon Polar Services collected starfish, coral, and other marine invertebrates in a trawl. Scientists waited on deck to sort through the animals for their research. (Photo by Ellen Bailey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Jonathan Alberts, a marine projects coordinator with Raytheon Polar Services, held sieves used to sort even the tiniest of Antarctic corals, worms, and fish collected for research. (Photo by Ellen Bailey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Biologist Rhian Waller collected species of deep-sea coral for her research on reproduction and development. The left bin held corals Flabellum thouarsii and Flabellum curvatum. The right held anenomes and another coral species, Balanophyllia antarctica. (Photo by Rhian Waller, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

After the larvae brooded, they crawled around the sides and bottom of their tanks using tiny, hair-like cilia. The larvae were exploring for a place to settle, as they do on the seafloor. While they may appear large, each was about the size of a peppercorn. (Photo by Rhian Waller, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Flabellum curvatum corals also brood their young, but no female adults were collected on this expedition. (Photo by Susie Balser, Illinois Wesleyan University )

This fully-formed Flabellum thouarsii coral larvae, photographed under a microscope, has tentacles and a mouth and appears ready to settle. (Photo by Susie Balser, Illinois Wesleyan University)

A top view of a fully-formed Flabellum thouarsii, photographed under a microscope, showed its tentacles and mouth in the center. It had been feeding on copepods. (Photo by Susie Balser, Illinois Wesleyan University )

Scientists refer to this Flabellum impensum larvae as "bundt"-shaped, after the cake pan with the same name. (Photo by Susie Balser, Illinois Wesleyan University )

Most people known Antarctica for its penguins, not for deep-sea corals that live in surrounding waters. (Photo by Andrew Mahon, Auburn University)

Ellen Bailey of the Ocean Life Institute at WHOI (left) and WHOI biologist Rhian Waller preserved tissue samples from adult corals for genetic analyses. (Photo by Christopher Mah, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History)

Back at WHOI, Rhian Waller feeds the larvae "copepod popsicles" (copepods frozen in seawater, which slowly dissolve and rain down, similar to their actions in nature). If the larvae survive, and eventually form skeletons, Waller will be among the first to document their development from larvae to adult coral. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)