Uranium occurs in corals at three sites: 1, in organic matter; 2, adsorbed on the surfaces of skeletal aragonite; and 3, in the aragonite lattice. Organic matter incorporates from sea water by chelation 40–70 ppm uranium; skeletal aragonite incorporates only 3 ppm. However, as the organic fraction is low (0·1%), its high concentration of uranium does not significantly affect the total concentration of uranium in the coral. A negligible concentration of uranium, 40–60 ppb, is adsorbed on skeletal aragonite from which it is readily leached or exchanged. This low concentration of adsorbed uranium (<2% of the total uranium in skeletal aragonite) is related to the very small specific surface area (1·5–1·8 m2/g of the corals.