Just look at the pictures. They say it all.
Gary C. Williams, of the California Academy of Sciences, published an exhaustive examination of the diversity of sea feathers based on his thirty years of research and exploration at the Public Library of Science on July 29, 2011.
“This paper is part of the PLoS ONE review collection of WoRMS (the Worldwide Register of Marine Species), on the global diversity of marine species.”
The pennatulacean octocorals, a group of cnidarians commonly referred to as sea pens or sea feathers. This also includes sea pansies, some sea whips, and various vermiform taxa.
These creatures have been documented by explorers and scientists since the time of the Romans.
The animals inhabit the coastal regions from Alaska to Peru, the Mediterranean, most of the African coast, and southern Australian.
The variety of forms, colors, and the ability to phosphoresce make these usually small animals some of the most interesting sea creatures know.
These little animals seem to have weathered the influence of pollution and climate variation well and exhibit over 200 different species that live in environments from shallow tidal pools to depths of 6100 meters.
The Global Diversity of Sea Pens (Cnidaria: Octocorallia: Pennatulacea)
Gary C. Williams*
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California, United States of America
Citation: Williams GC (2011) The Global Diversity of Sea Pens (Cnidaria: Octocorallia: Pennatulacea). PLoS ONE 6(7): e22747. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022747