California Golden Gorgonian, Muricea californica

The California golden gorgonian (Muricea californica) is a common gorgonian species in southern California. It is typically found growing on rocky reefs from 40′ to 200′ deep. The California golden gorgonian is a colonial organism composed of thousands of individual polyps, each of which secretes calcium to form the structure of the colony. The individual polyps feed on plankton and detritus floating by in the current. The fan-shaped colony is usually oriented perpendicular to prevailing ocean currents to optimize this filter feeding. Most of my photos of California golden gorgonians were taken at San Clemente Island and Catalina Island, two of the beautiful Channel Islands offshore of southern 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. 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.
Image ID: 03481
Species: California golden gorgonian, Muricea californica
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

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

California Golden gorgonian in kelp forest.
Image ID: 03486
Species: California golden gorgonian, Muricea californica, Macrocystis pyrifera
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

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

Garibaldi and golden gorgonian, with a underwater forest of giant kelp rising in the background, underwater.
Image ID: 23432
Species: California golden gorgonian, Muricea californica, Hypsypops rubicundus
Location: Catalina Island, California, USA

California golden gorgonian 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, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island

California golden gorgonian 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.
Image ID: 23439
Species: California golden gorgonian, Muricea californica, Macrocystis pyrifera
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

Garibaldi and California golden gorgonians 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, Hypsypops rubicundus, San Clemente Island

Garibaldi and California golden gorgonians 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.
Image ID: 23443
Species: California golden gorgonian, Muricea californica, Hypsypops rubicundus
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

See my full collection of photos of California golden gorgonians and photos of Muricea californica.

Keywords: California golden gorgonian, Muricea californica, underwater, California, sea fan.