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Video Archives Soft Coral Race Rocks
This video shows in close details the characteristics of the soft pink coral (Gersemia rubiformis) found at Race Rocks. Soft corals are mostly sub-tidal. A soft coral has spicules of calcium carbonate within it, so it is moderately firm, but it does not have a completly calcified skeleton, like that of reef-building corals of warmer seas, or even like that of the cup coral of our coast. The polyps of soft corals have eight tentacles, each with delicate side branches. This establishes their relationship to sea pens and to most of the colonial reef-building corals. This colonial invertebrate forms a lumpy colony, sometimes 10 or 15 cm in diameter, whose colors range from cream through orange to deep pink elsewhere, but are consistently deep pink here at Race Rocks. The lumps, when the polyps have withdrawn, slightly resemble raspberries, which belong to the genus Rubus; hence the specific name rubiformis. Extended, the individual polyps stick out about 5mm beyond the lump to which they belong. Filmed by Jean-Olivier Dalphod and Damien Guihen on a sunny day at Race Rocks.

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Garry Fletcher