Octocoral assemblages have a fundamental ecological role as a habitat that provides a complex three-dimensional structure to support high biodiversity. The octocoral Guaiagorgia sp. is found abundantly in Hong Kong's western waters but not elsewhere in other parts of the Hong Kong marine environment. What is Guaiagorgia? What is so special about it? Let’s hop on and explore with us. Follow Coral Academy and stay tuned!
Funded by: Marine Ecology Enhancement Fund
柳珊瑚小分隊 Guaiagorgia team
大家好！我哋係來自中文大學 珊瑚學院嘅FYP學生，Alice同Anna今年我哋研究室收到改善海洋生態基金嘅資助，研究一種香港搵到但世界少見嘅柳珊瑚 — Guaiagorgia 。Alice會研究佢哋嘅繁殖，而Anna就會研究佢哋承受壓力嘅能力。
Hi everyone! This is Alice and Anna and we are the final year project students in Coral Academy Lab, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. This year our lab received funding support from the Marine Ecology Enhancement Fund (MEEF) to look into a gorgonian coral, Guaiagorgia, which can be commonly found in some sites in Hong Kong but rarely in the world. Alice will investigate their reproductive biology, while Anna will study their environmental tolerance.
咩係八放珊瑚？What is Octocoral？
Do you know that corals are divided into two groups? Corals with 6 or multiples of 6 tentacles in each polyp belongs to subclass Hexacorallia, and corals with 8 tentacles in each polyp belongs to subclass Octocorallia. Hard corals and black corals are hexacorals, while soft corals, gorgonian and sea fans are all octocorals. The coral we are studying, Guaiagorgia, is a genus of gorgonians.
咩係八放珊瑚？（續）What is Octocoral (Con't)
Many octocorals are filter feeders and feed on plankton. Unlike hard corals, octocorals do not possess external calcium carbonate skeleton, nor form coral reefs.
Guaiagorgia 係邊度搵到？Where to find them?
According to the present literature review, 𝘎𝘶𝘢𝘪𝘢𝘨𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘢 is abundant in western Hong Kong water and Northern Lantau Island. Previous surveys show that Guaiagorgia sp. colonies can also be found near Hong Kong International Airport, Tai Mo To, Ma Wan, and Tsing Yi. They adapt to Hong Kong western water and salinity change better than other corals and become dominant. Hopefully, we will learn more about their distribution as there is more ecological survey on the species.
𝘎𝘶𝘢𝘪𝘢𝘨𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘢 喜歡吃什麼？What does 𝘎𝘶𝘢𝘪𝘢𝘨𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘢 like to eat？
𝘎𝘶𝘢𝘪𝘢𝘨𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘢 is a filter-feeder. Unlike hard corals, 𝘎𝘶𝘢𝘪𝘢𝘨𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘢 and many other octocorals do not obtain nutrients from photosynthetic symbionts. Instead, they mainly filter water and capture plankton and tiny particles as food with their tentacles.