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Eureka!: Small Wonders

Reef Secrets

Red Coral

The coral species Orbicella faveolata releasing reproductive cells into the water. Photograph by Phillip Gillette

The coral species Orbicella faveolata breeds by releasing reproductive cells into the water. Each of the tiny, peach-colored globules in this image—shot during a research trip to the Florida Keys—contains egg and sperm. Students in UB’s Buffalo Undersea Reef Research lab are studying the life of the threatened species, focusing on such topics as the coral’s early development and the temperature sensitivity of young individuals. Their work should help us predict how the delicate creatures will fare in warming oceans.