There are around 500 species of gorgonian coral worldwide, with the greatest concentrations in the Caribbean and West Atlamtic. As is the way of things, the name has been changed in the last few years, so gorgonian coral are now known as alcyonacea or soft coral. They thrive in nutrient rich waters with less intense light. As a defence mechanism, they produce a chemical which tastes foul (If you’re a dolphin). Some of these chemical compounds are being explored for potential medical / pharmaceutical uses.