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Attached Corals (Biotic Group)

Component: Biotic

Unique Identifier: 510

Biotic Setting Benthic/Attached Biota
Biotic Class Faunal Bed
Biotic Subclass Attached Fauna
Biotic Group Attached Corals
Biotic Community Attached Black Corals
Eugorgia Communities
Isididae Communities
Attached Gold Corals
Attached Gorgonians
Paragorgia Communities
Attached Soft Corals


Description
Definition Subtidal (and deeper) substrates that are dominated by non-reef-forming corals. These include hexacorals such as black corals (Order Antipatheria) and gold corals (Order Zoanthidea, family Gerardiidae). All octocorals are non-reef forming, including soft corals and gorgonian sea fans and sea whips (Order Alcyonacea). Also in this group, bamboo corals are generally larger, erect, tree-shaped branching octocoral forms (with an articulated, bamboo-like skeleton) that are common in the deep sea. None of the octocorals produce the calcium carbonate structures associated with coral reefs, but octocorals can form important habitat areas, particularly in the deep sea, where large communities may cover significant area. Most species require a hard substrate for attachment, which may range from bedrock to a single pebble. Octocorals in the order Pennatulacea (sea pens, sea pansies, and sea feathers) are in general specialized for life on soft substrates, and are addressed in the Soft Sediment Fauna subclass.