Oculina coral fragments at different stages of decay. The piece on the left has been dead only recently and the round calyx structures, where coral polyps attach, are still visible. The pieces second and third from the left have been dead longer, perhaps six months to a year, and are beginning to show signs of colonization by other reef animals. The last two pieces on the right have probably been dead for a year to two year. They are heavily encrusted and discoloredby tube worms, sponges and other organisms and invaded with boring worms and sponges. Image courtesy of Islands in the Stream 2001, NOAA/OER.