Depletion and bleaching of coral reefs around the world have made headlines across the world in recent years. Scientists attribute this to many causes. Despite all this chatter, preservation efforts and awareness of the sheer variety of coral species remain relatively rare among the general public. The Indian Ocean boasts multiple varieties of this unique sea creature and these species can serve as a sample of how coral can adjust to varying conditions. The following five coral species represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Indian Ocean’s biodiversity.
This coral belongs to the family Acroporidae. It pushes outward in shelf-like plates and typically feeds at night. Of the Indian Ocean coral species, this one continues to thrive in shallow waters.
With its home near the southern tip of India, this coral also populates much of the Pacific and places as far as the Red Sea. As it grows, this coral branches off upward in slightly bulbous formations, creating a shape akin to a sponge.
Spanning a variety of colors from pale to brown to red, this species prefers areas with strong currents. Colonies often extend over one meter in length. Unlike other species, this coral’s tentacles extend during the day and the night.
The pistillata comes in many forms. Also, the colors vary greatly, but tend to be on the bright side of the spectrum of blues, whites and reds. However, photographs often make this coral appear pink. Divers will usually find this coral in shallow areas with strong wave action.
People know this family of coral as “brain coral” because of its appearance. In the shape of a dome, the coral has thick walls with brain-like ridges covering it. The ridges tend to have a darker color while the valleys are a bright blue or green.