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21 July 2021 | dataset

Global Distribution of Cold-water Corals - United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre

This dataset shows the global distribution of cold-water corals. Occurrence records are given for 86 Families under the subclass Octocorallia (octocorals; also known as Alcyonaria) and four Orders (in Class Anthozoa): Scleractinia (reef-forming corals), Antipatharia (black corals), Zoanthidae (encrusting or button polyps), and Pennatulacea (sea pens). Occurrence records are also available for the order sub-Order Filifera (lace corals) in Class Hydrozoa.

Freiwald A, Rogers A, Hall-Spencer J, Guinotte JM, Davies AJ, Yesson C, Martin CS, Weatherdon LV (2017). Global distribution of cold-water corals (version 5.0). Fifth update to the dataset in Freiwald et al. (2004) by UNEP-WCMC, in collaboration with Andre Freiwald and John Guinotte. Cambridge (UK): UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre. URL:

Other cited reference(s):
Freiwald A, Fosså JH, Grehan A, Koslow T, Roberts JM (2004). Cold-water coral reefs: out of sight – no longer out of mind. Biodiversity Series 22. Cambridge (UK): UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. 86 pp. URL:

OSPAR Commission. (2015) OSPAR Threatened and/or Declining Habitats 2015. URL:…. Data URL:

Use Constraints:
UNEP-WCMC General Data License.
For commercial use, please contact

Data and Resource

Global Distribution of Cold-water Corals

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Field Value
Publisher Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme
Modified 11 February 2022
Release Date 21 July 2021
Source URL
Identifier 37e90d4e-49b7-4adb-8598-a48fb2d5a3e7
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location Worldwide
Relevant Countries Worldwide
License Public
[Open Data]
Contact Name Dr. Steve Fletcher
Contact Email
POD Theme Coastal and Marine