Deepwater corals are all in the news these days and this time it is for being the oldest known colonial animal. Previous age estimates of Gold Coral, Gerardia sp., were made by counting what appeared to be annual growth rings for an age of up to 70 years; boy were they wrong. Specimens of Gerardia collected near hawaii at a depth of 1500 feet were recently analyzed using radiocarbon dating which showed that some of these ancient coral colonies are older than many pyramids. Some large deepwater colonies can grow to over 4 feet tall and if it takes 1000 years for these corals to grow a foot you can count us out on even wanting to keep these corals in aquaria. Besides that, one report states that coral samples were “snipped from the floor of the Pacific Ocean”. If these corals are older than Jesus should we really be chopping them down just to see how old they are? This sounds too much like what happened to the oldest known tree, the bristle cone pine named Prometheus.
Jake Adams has been an avid marine aquarist since the mid 90s and has worked in the retail side of the marine aquarium trade for more than ten years. He has a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and has been the managing editor of ReefBuilders.com since 2008. Jake is interested in every facet of the marine aquarium hobby from the concepts to the technology, rare fish to exotic corals, and his interests are well documented through a very prolific career of speaking to reef clubs and marine aquarium events, and writing articles for aquarium publications across the globe. His primary interest is in corals which Jake pursues in the aquarium hobby as well as diving the coral reefs of the world.