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How do corals get their colors? More to discover at the Greensboro Science Center

What are corals and how do they get their vibrant colors?

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Is it a plant or an animal? We're talking about corals! 

Rachel Rodgers, the Greensboro Science Center’s primary coral aquarist, explained what corals are and how the symbiotic relationship between coral polyps and the algae zooxanthellae contributes to corals’ unique, vibrant colors.  

Many people think corals are plants but they're animals. In fact, each individual polyp is it's own individual animal. Inside the polyp are algae called, zooxanthellae. That algae give the polyp or animal its own unique and beautiful color. It also gives the polyp energy and nutrients. 

When a coral bleaches, it means the algae has left the polyp. It takes with it, all of its color, energy and nutrients. The coral that is bleached doesn't have the energy it once had and is at risk of dying. 

There's lots more to explore at the Greensboro Science Center. It's located at 4301 Lawndale Drive in Greensboro. General admission includes admission to the aquarium, museum and zoo. 


GSC Members: Free
Adults (ages 14 - 64): $19.50
Seniors (ages 65+): $18.50
Children (ages 3 - 13): $17.50
Children 2 and Under: Free

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Find out more about visits, exhibits, and hours of operation.