Gorgonia ventalina has several ecosystem roles, primarily by serving as a substrate for many other organisms. For example, bivavle molluscs, sponges, and algae may grow on dead sections of the sea fan. However, it is not known if the growth of these organisms kills the sections or if they invade after the coral is already dead. Certain organisms, such as the brittle star and the basket starfish, use the tall G. ventalina to climb to a more advantageous position for filter feeding in reef areas. There have been studies into the role that sea fans, including G. ventalina, have in the formation of coral reefs. Conclusions were the limestone inner structure provides some of the base where other corals may attach to form more colonies.
Ecosystem Impact: creates habitat
- Symbiodinium sp.
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