|Precious coral, a gift from the ocean / Japan Coral Association|
and hexacorallia / Growth / Coraland
How to harvest / Where to harvest / Conservation
Precious coral and reef-building coral are different species, inhabiting different depths of waters and growing at different rates. Reef-building coral is seen while diving, while precious coral lives in the deep ocean floor, giving off a special mystique.
Precious coral grows very slowly over many years in a place so deep that no sunlight can reach it. Colonies of this coral are found sparsely scattered about on areas of the ocean floor characterized by slopes and ridges. Microorganisms begin to degrade the colonies that have stopped growing, and eventually eat them away.
Unlike precious coral, reef-building coral grows close together making a reef-like structure. Some in warm, well-lit, coastal waters grow even 10 centimeters (4 inches) a year. This coral is part of finely-balanced ecosystems, absorbing carbon dioxide with their symbiotic algae and feeding on planktonic animals with their polyps. Coral reefs support a variety of marine life as "forests of the ocean".
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