Red coral observed near Port Heiden along the Bering Sea coast.
Melissa O'Domin writes,
It has been said that there is red coral out in our waters but never heard of it being seen on our beaches. During the week of Thanksgiving, Port Heiden underwent a bit of a storm. We had winds of 33 mph with gusts of 53 mph and tides were at 12+ feet.
A good resource is the NOAA Technical Memorandum, A Field Guide to Alaskan Corals by B.L Wing and D. R. Barnard. Our amateur review of the guide causes us to suspect that this may be Gersemia sp., a brain like coral that can be either red or purple in color. According to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Alaska Coral and Sponge Initiative (AKCSI), the majority of Alaska's continental shelf and slope have not been surveyed for deep-sea coral abundance. UAF researchers in the College of Fisheries and Ocean Science were funded to explore the location, distribution, ecosystem role, and status of deep-sea coral and sponge habitats. This observation has been forwarded to the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences for species identification. We also welcome identification assistance from LEO Network members.
Frontiers in Marine Science – Corals, Canyons, and Conservation: Science-Based Fisheries Management Decisions in the Eastern Bering Sea: When making science matter for conservation, marine conservation practitioners and managers must be prepared to make the appropriate decision based on the results of the best available science used to inform it. For nearly a decade, many stakeholders encouraged the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to enact protections for deep-sea corals in several canyons in the Eastern Bering Sea slope. Citation: MacLean SA, Rooper CN and Sigler MF (2017) Corals, Canyons, and Conservation: Science-Based Fisheries Management Decisions in the Eastern Bering Sea. Front. Mar. Sci. 4:142. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00142
Frontiers in Marine Science | Marine Conservation and Sustainability
NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-OHC-2 – Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program: Alaska Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Initiative Final Report, Deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems are widespread throughout most of Alaska’s marine waters. In some places, such as the central and western Aleutian Islands, deep-sea coral and sponge resources can be extremely diverse and may rank among the most abundant deep-sea coral and sponge communities in the world. Rooper, C. et al. June 2017. Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA Technical Memorandum – A Field Guide to Alaskan Corals, A guide to the families and genera of coldwater corals found in Alaskan waters.
NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional Office – Alaska Coral Species, Petition to List Coral Species and Designate Critical Habitat