Skip to main content
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

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