Bryozoan grows on a red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater.  The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by, Lophogorgia chilensis, San Clemente Island

Bryozoan grows on a red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater. The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Lophogorgia chilensis, California.

Red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater.  The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by, Lophogorgia chilensis, San Clemente Island

A school of blacksmith swims over a red gorgonian growing on a rocky reef. California.

Red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater.  The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by, Lophogorgia chilensis, San Clemente Island

Lophogorgia chilensis, red gorgonian, grows below a towering forest of giant kelp, San Clemente Island, California.

Red gorgonian polyps.  The red gorgonian is a colonial organism composed of thousands of tiny polyps.  Each polyp secretes calcium which accumulates to form the structure of the colony.  The fan-shaped gorgonian is oriented perpendicular to prevailing ocean currents to better enable to filter-feeding polyps to capture passing plankton and detritus passing by, Lophogorgia chilensis, San Clemente Island

Red gorgonian polyps. The red gorgonian is a colonial organism composed of thousands of tiny polyps. Each polyp secretes calcium which accumulates to form the structure of the colony.

Red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater.  The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by, Lophogorgia chilensis, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island

Red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by.

California golden gorgonian and small juvenile sheephead fishes on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater.  The golden gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep.  Each individual polyp is a distinct animal, together they secrete calcium that forms the structure of the colony. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by, Muricea californica, Semicossyphus pulcher, San Clemente Island

California golden gorgonian and small juvenile sheephead fishes on rocky reef. Muricea californica and Semicossyphus pulcher, San Clemente Island, California.

Red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater.  The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by, Lophogorgia chilensis, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island

A red gorgonian reaches out in the ocean current to grasp small particles of food. Kelp forest, California.

Garibaldi and golden gorgonian, with a underwater forest of giant kelp rising in the background, underwater, Muricea californica, Hypsypops rubicundus, Catalina Island

Garibaldi, Hypsypops rubicundus, swims in front of a golden gorgonian, with a underwater forest of giant kelp rising in the background, underwater. Catalina, California.

California golden gorgonian on rocky reef, underwater. The golden gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Each individual polyp is a distinct animal, together they secrete calcium that forms the structure of the colony. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by, Muricea californica, San Clemente Island

California golden gorgonian on rocky reef, underwater.

Diver and red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis, San Clemente Island

Red Gorgonian, San Clemente Island

California Golden gorgonian, red gorgonian, sheephead, Muricea californica, Lophogorgia chilensis, Semicossyphus pulcher, San Clemente Island

California Golden gorgonian, red gorgonian, sheephead fish, San Clemente Island, California.

Simnia and egg cluster on gorgonian, Delonovolva aequalis, Anacapa Island

Simnia (Delonovolva aequalis) laying an egg cluster on a red gorgonian. Anacapa Island, California.

California Golden gorgonian polyps.  The golden gorgonian is a colonial organism composed of thousands of tiny polyps. Each polyp secretes calcium which accumulates to form the structure of the colony. The fan-shaped gorgonian is oriented perpendicular to prevailing ocean currents to better enable to filter-feeding polyps to capture passing plankton and detritus passing by, Muricea californica, San Clemente Island

California Golden gorgonian polyps, Muricea californica, Catalina.

California Golden gorgonian in kelp forest, Muricea californica, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island

Two California Golden gorgonians (Muricea californica) in kelp forest (Macrocystis pyrifera), San Clemente Island, California.

California Golden gorgonian in kelp forest, Muricea californica, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island

California Golden Gorgonian, San Clemente Island

Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis, San Clemente Island

Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis.