Lobed Soft Coral

Lobophytum spp.

Guardian: Vikki Hutchen

I have been told that we are running out of anti-biotics, that bacteria have evolved a tolerance to the ones we have been using and there are only a few left and that soon a bug will come along and there will be a modern day black plague.

Plants, corals and sponges produce toxins that prevent animals from eating them and bacteria from growing on them. More important than that, is they mix genes and evolve and these toxins change so that if bacteria evolve a tolerance to them they evolve a new toxin.

Forests and reefs are a store of life-saving medicine and if they are large enough they will continually change and protect us. Because soft corals have no hard rock to protect them and they cannot move to escape, species like Lobophytum are one of the greatest stores of medical cures. It is not colourful, it is rarely placed in a brochure or mentioned on a snorkel tour but when you look at this coral you are looking at an animal that may save your children from future diseases, you are looking at one of our guardians.

Long live Lobophytum.