Bubblegum Coral | Oceana Canada

Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia

Bubblegum Coral

Paragorgia arborea

Distribution

Sub-polar to polar waters in the North Atlantic and North-eastern Pacific

Écosystèmes/habitats

Hard or soft sediment in areas with strong currents

Feeding Habits

Filter feeder

Conservation Status

Not listed

Taxonomie

Class Anthozoa (corals, anemones & relatives); Order Alcyonacea (soft corals)

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Bubblegum corals are one of the largest coral species found in North America. They get their name  from their appearance: they are often bright pink and the polyps at the end of their branches resemble wads of gum. These polyps are individual animals that make up the coral colony. Bubblegum corals are cold, deep-water corals that rely on filter feeding. Each polyp has eight tentacles, which usually emerge at night to feed. The tentacles capture prey, such as plankton, that drift by in the ocean currents.

There are no fisheries that directly target bubblegum corals. However, they can be caught as bycatch, or accidental catch, in bottom contacting fishing gears such as bottom trawls, bottom longlines and dredges. They can also be easily damaged and killed by a variety of fishing gears, even if they are not brought up to the surface. There are areas with cold water corals that have been completely decimated and turned to rubble by fishing practices such as trawling. This has a devastating impact on the ocean, as coral provide habitat for many species. The destruction of habitat can reduce the productivity of fisheries, as fish and invertebrate populations that relied on the coral for a place to live decline.