October 25, 2014, 11:37 pm

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  • Cold-water coral reef biodiversity
A single colony of black coral, Antipatharia, Porcupine Seabight © Ifremer & AWI (12003).

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Fringing habitats

Next to the richness and diversity of the life on the reef structure, the fringing habitats can initially appear barren. There are still animals here but they are hidden from view burrowed within the seabed. Here many species of marine worms live often feeding from within the sediment or by occasionally emerging to scour fresh organic material that has settled onto the seabed.

Sometimes small oasis-like communities are found surrounded by flat seafloor, perhaps colonising a small boulder that was dropped from an iceberg thousands of years ago.


Crinoids Echiuran Worm Corals and sponges
A stalked crinoid, West Rota Volcano, Pacific © NOAA Ocean Explorer. Echurian worm leaves its burrow to feed, Sula Ridge, mid-Norway © J.M. Roberts (2001). A small community of corals and sponges colonise a boulder © Ifremer & AWI (2003).
Crinoids are calcified filter feeding echinoderms. They are very widespread in areas of fast current flow. An echiuran worm (probably Bonellia viridis) emerges from its burrow to feed. A small community of corals and sponges colonising a boulder.