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Angela Sabino

Lobophytum pauciflorum

Lobophytum pauciflorum

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Lobophytum is a genre of cnidarians anthozoaries of the Alcyonacea Order, sessile colonial cnidarians that are found throughout the oceans of the world, especially in the deep sea, polar waters, tropics and subtropics. Whilst not in a strict taxonomic sense, Alcyonacea are commonly known as "soft corals" (Octorallia) that are quite different from "true" corals (Scleractinia).

Unlike stony corals, most soft corals thrive in nutrient-rich waters with less intense light. Almost all use symbiotic photosynthetic zooxanthella as a major energy source. However, most readily eat any free-floating food, such as zooplankton, out of the water column. They are integral members of the reef ecosystem and provide habitat for fish, snails, algae, and a diversity of other marine species.

Coral bleaching is a phenomenon where corals lose their vibrant colors due to the expulsion of symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae. These algae live within the coral tissues and provide them with energy through photosynthesis. The relationship between corals and zooxanthellae is mutualistic; the algae receive a protected environment, and the corals benefit from the nutrients produced by the algae.

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