New Flaming Red Gorgonian Found

The new Pacific gorgonian, Psammagorgia hookeri, named for Peruvian biologist Dr. Yuri Hooker. A startling splotch of vivid crimson growing on the substrate was what first caught the eye of Peruvian marine zoologist Yuri Hooker in 2002 while he was diving in the relatively unexplored waters of the Peruvian Pacific. Not a sponge, which Hooker collects from time to time, the colorful organism turned out to be a gorgonian coral, but not one he could identify. Now a team from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and the University of Costa Rica have collected the species again and have described as Psammogorgia hookeri in a new report published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association in the UK. Dr. Yuri Hooker, Peruvian biologist who first collected samples of the coral. “This new species may be found nowhere else in the world,” said Hector Guzman, marine biologist and soft-coral expert at STRI