Forgive me if this question is off topic, but I’ve seen similar questions so I think it should be on topic.

I’m at the beach currently, and I was looking in tide pools for interesting things. I found some coral in a one. coral I don’t know exactly, but I think there are around 6 or so polyps in the tide pool.

It is very possible that I have misidentified these organisms as coral, when they are something else. If I have, let me know.

It is my understanding that coral survives with the help of algae, which produce food for them. However this tide pool barely gets sun, and is the only one I have found with coral.

Here is a (bad) drawing of the location. drawing As you can see, the amount of time that sun reaches this location is very short, so wouldn’t the coral be unable to thrive with little sun?

Image for scale of a dead coral (each polyp around 3mm) next to the found “coral” enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE. I can't tell what it is in your picture that you think is a coral. Can you supply a clearer pictures? If not, please indicate (e.g. with an arrow or circle) the relevant part of the image and add a rough sketch of the organism(s). In addition, for species-identification we need to know the size, and geographic location. That said, coral polyps are typically very small — is it possible you are looking at sea anemones? $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Apr 12, 2022 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ @tyersome It’s basically dead center of the image, as well as another one on the far bottom right. I guess calling it coral is an overstatement, it’s very few polyps. I don’t have a clearer picture, but tomorrow I could try to get one. it could be hard to tell scale, the size is about 4mm. I don’t know exactly though, it’s night and so I’m not going to go looking for the spot right now. I am currently on the coast of South Carolina. It is definitely possible that it is a sea anemone, however it is vastly different from the other sea anemones i have found in the area, it’s much smaller. $\endgroup$
    – Topcode
    Apr 12, 2022 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


Certain species of corals do not require as much sunlight as others to survive. The zooxanthellae that augment nutrient supply to the polyps do rely on photosynthesis, but some species are adapted to less direct sun sources. For example, there are corals within the mesophotic zone of the oceans where solar radiation is low compared to that of a tidepool (even if it rarely receives direct sunlight). For your specific question, the corals likely receive enough sunlight to meet their energetic demand of symbiotic zooxanthellae to complement their predation feeding strategy.


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