Mine is a body that should die at sea!
And have for a grave instead of a grave
6 feet deep and the length of me,
All the water that is under wave!
(excerpt from "Burial" by Edna St. Vincent Millay)
What a magnificent animal. Coral is in the Anthozoa class of marine organisms, which also includes sea anemones. These builders of reefs are an integral part of the sea's ecosystem. By secreting calcium carbonate, they create hard skeletons which build up over time to form coral colonies known as "reefs". Spanning over 1,600 miles, The Great Barrier Reef is the largest.
Coral reefs are being threatened by many things including coral mining. If you are interested in having one of these nautical natural history pieces in your home, it is best to find one that has already been mined vs. going into the sea and gathering it yourself. Organizations like the United States Coral Reef Task Force are working to protect what is left of the worlds coral. This includes the conservation, restoration and protection of. As the reef population dwindles, it is important to do our part to keep what is left in the ocean, in the ocean. That being said, there are many places to find coral like aquarium stores, garage sales and the internet (especially places like ebay and etsy).
If you are interested in collecting corals you may find these titles (available on amazon.com) helpful; "The Super Simple Guide To Corals," "Corals; A Quick Reference Guide," and "Aquarium Corals: Selection, Husbandry and Natural History." If you are looking to identify corals in your collection you may want to use the Coral Genus Identification CD. The Coral Science website (found here) is also a great resource of information and links. If you are curious to see a large coral collection in action check out the Waikiki Aquarium's massive coral collection, said to be one of the largest in the world. And please take the time to check out the crotchet coral exhibit at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum. It is amazing.
Thank you etsy sellers for the use of your beautiful images. Everything you see here is available for purchase on Etsy.