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Images: What Other Tales Can Coral Skeletons Tell?

A thriving scleractinian coral community on Nashville Seamount, located on the New England Seamounts. A Desmophyllum dianthus coral (with orange tentacles sticking out) has a large brittle star crawling on top. The coral Lophelia pertusa is shown at the lower right corner, along with many orange octocorals. (Photo courtesy of DASS05_IFE_IAO_URI_NOAA)

Scientists gathered dead coral samples by placing nets in the robotic claws of deep-sea vehicles. They collected hundreds of corals, ranging in size from tennis balls to volleyballs, in each sweep of the net. (Photo courtesy of DASS05_IFE_IAO_URI_NOAA)

One of the thousands of Desmophyllum dianthus coral samples collected and catalogued for future climate and DNA studies. (Photo courtesy of Rhian Waller, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

To avoid contaminating coral samples, WHOI scientist Rhian Waller wore a protective suit, mask, and gloves while working at the Paleo-DNA Laboratory at Lakehead University. (Photo courtesy of Rhian Waller, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)