At these and other reefs, elkhorn, pillar, star, and brain corals
harbor myriad underwater wildlife.
You already see branching species replacing massive slow-growing brain corals
. We lost a 1,000-year-old coral head off Pandora Reef in '98.
Elkhorn and brain corals
there are remarkably healthy and vibrant, in stark contrast with colonies elsewhere in the Caribbean region that have been decimated by pollution and disease.
The corals themselves, though, are uniformly brown, except for a few purple sea fans; the branching corals appear pathetically truncated, and the brain corals
blotched from stress.
Among the damaged corals is a species called brain corals
, locally known as tampulong and binagong.
Some of the coral species have names that emphasize their principal physical characteristic, such as the ear, elkhorn, and brain corals
. On the slopes are the fan coral, with broad and flat surfaces like plates, thus allowing them to capture all the light possible.