Coral conservation

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Working in the conservation department.

I’ve been sprucing up a large Sea Fan coral in preparation for an exhibition Coral: Something Rich and Strange which opens at Manchester Museum on 30 November 2013. (Click on images to enlarge).

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Side 1 before work starts – rather grubby!

Labelled Rhipidogorgia flabellum, the (historic) accompanying text describes it thus:

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There is a link to my recent previous activity of documenting fossil Cnidaria as this soft coral is a member of the Cnidaria phylum.

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Close-up of the structure.

The layer of grime was removed using  gentle application of dry cleaning  latex sponge and copious amounts of time (9 hours altogether – plenty of thinking time but hard not to drift off into a trance!).  Although the structure looks delicate, it had a relatively plastic quality.  Round the edges the exposed wiry core was needle sharp.

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Side 1 – the cleaned area in the centre shows how dirty it was.

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Side 1 completed – now turn over …

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Side 2 – quite a different colour with red stems and yellow ‘fan’.

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The finished article!

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