Sunday, October 10, 2010

Deep-Sea Corals of South Georgia.

SG Corals 55p-tile

The seafloor surrounding South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands seems to provide a particularly good habitat for corals to settle onto and the productive waters provide a rich food supply for growth. Consequently a wealth of coral has been recorded from these waters.

The authorized Post of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands issued the stamp series of deep water coral on year 2010. The stamps issued can remind the people who are care the environment to make the effort to protect the deep-sea coral.

Deep-water corals are quite varied; black corals, hard corals, soft corals, lace corals and octocorals all live in deep water, some to depths of more than 5 km. Deep-sea corals provide homes to hundreds if not thousands of different species of starfish, brittlestars, worms, sponges and other invertebrates.

Lace corals, as the one represented on the 90p stamp, are a type of hydroid with a hard skeleton and can look very similar to hard corals. Hard corals have a solid calcium carbonate skeleton whereas soft corals have just small scales of calcium carbonate embedded in their tissues, making them very flexible.

Octocorals are defined by having polyps with eight tentacles. In the deep water around Antarctica, families of octocorals tend to have polyps covered in plates of calcium carbonate and it is the structure and shape of these plates that define different species.

Three unidentified octocoral species of the Thouarella and Paragorgia genera are represented in the 55p, 65p and £1.10 stamps. The difficult to tell the species names of the corals represented in this stamp set. Many new species of corals have been described from Antarctica in recent years and there are many more to come.

The protection of coral in fisheries management against of the destroyed coral due to contact the seabed is important. The coral habitat is a part of the life of other species, as feeding ground or for egg placement. Further more many deep sea coral have a very slow growing and extremely long-lived to make recovery from damaged in centuries. Recently a black coral was aged at over 4250 years old, making these corals some of the oldest living creatures on earth. Black corals, confusingly, tend to have bright orange or white polyps; they are so named as their skeleton is black


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