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Marine Scientist/Research Coordinator Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary When most people think of corals they imagine tropical waters and snorkeling.

They are surprised to learn that corals are also found throughout the world in the ice-cold, dark waters of the deep ocean.

Cold-water (or deep-sea) corals are part of the taxonomic group called Cnidaria, and they are related to animals like sea anemones and jellyfish.

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The two large colonies will be sampled more extensively for lead-210 dating to provide age determinations with minimal uncertainty.

The series of colony tips will be used to relate growth rates within and between colonies and locations on the seamount.

The reef extends for about 600 miles off the north coast of Brazil, near the mouth of the mighty Amazon river, and covers an area about half the size of Wales.

Oil companies BP and Total plan to drill for oil in the area and there is concern that any spills would damage the “precious and unique ecosystem”.

In a recent study, researchers estimated the age of bamboo coral from Davidson Seamount (Andrews et al. The results from various growth-zone-counting interpretations led to a wide range of estimated age.