Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

zooxanthellate
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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Comprehensive Description

Biology: Skeleton

More info
AuthorSkeleton?Mineral or Organic?MineralPercent Magnesium
Cairns, Hoeksema, and van der Land, 1999 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
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Distribution

Range Description

In the Indo-West Pacific, this species is found in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, the southwest and northern Indian Ocean, the central Indo-Pacific, Australia, South-east Asia, Japan and the East China Sea, the oceanic West Pacific, and the central Pacific.
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Description

This forms sub-massive to massive colonies, usually not exceeding 40 cm across in this region. Series are meandroid and large, with some monocentric calices. Series are not joined laterally to adjacent ones. The latter feature distinguishes the genus from Physogyra which is otherwise very similar. Septa are very large (up to 10 mm radius above the wall), separated by up to 5 mm from adjacent septa in the valley, have smooth edges and curve sideways. Valleys are about 15 - 25 mm wide, and there is no columella. When young, single calices or series appear stalked, reaching 5 or 6 cm tall. The adult form is massive. Meandroid valleys are mostly laterally unattached to other valleys, though these meandroid calices fuse with and part from each other at frequent intervals along their length. In many small colonies, series are attached by very broad, flaky coenosteum. However, they remain distinct from the genus Physogyra whose series are more closely united. Living colonies are covered with grape sized vesicles which have a photosynthetic function. At night these retract and tentacles are extended. (Sheppard, 1998 <308>) Colonies are phaceloid to flabello-meandroid with valleys more or less connected by a light blistery coenosteum. Septa are large, imperforate, smooth-edged, very exsert and widely spaced. Walls are imperforate. Columellae are absent. Polyps are extended only at night. During the day, polyps extend clusters of grey vesicles the size and shape of large grapes, These retract slowly, if at all, when disturbed. Colour: bluish-grey. Abundance: restricted to protected caves or crevices where it grows on vertical faces or under overhangs. Large colonies are sometimes found on flat substrates in partly turbid water. Usually uncommon. (Veron, 1986 <57>) Unusual coral in which the large polyps extend enlarged, grape-like vesicles (not tentacles) during the day, but these are retracted at night when the tentacles are extended. Although the polyps are large, the colonies are small with a light skeleton which has elaborate, petal-like septa. Colour: vesicles have faint, irregular stripes. Habitat: sheltered reefs. (Richmond, 1997)
  • Veron, J.E.N. (1986). Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. Angus & Robertson Publishers, London.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is found in protected reef environments except in high energy environments. P. sinuosa is commonly found from 9-15 m in the South China Sea and Gulf of Siam (Titlyanov and Titlyanova 2002). This species is found from 3-35 m.

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 139 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 99 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1 - 65
  Temperature range (°C): 25.106 - 28.954
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.083 - 1.979
  Salinity (PPS): 33.101 - 35.273
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.505 - 4.740
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.081 - 0.356
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.523 - 6.846

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 1 - 65

Temperature range (°C): 25.106 - 28.954

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.083 - 1.979

Salinity (PPS): 33.101 - 35.273

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.505 - 4.740

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.081 - 0.356

Silicate (umol/l): 0.523 - 6.846
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
Turak, E., Sheppard, C. & Wood, E.

Reviewer/s
Livingstone, S., Polidoro, B. & Smith, J.

Contributor/s

Justification
The most important known threat for this species is extensive reduction of coral reef habitat due to a combination of threats, however, this species is also heavily harvested for the aquarium trade. Specific population trends are unknown but population reduction can be inferred from estimated habitat loss (Wilkinson 2004). It is widespread and common throughout its range and therefore is likely to be more resilient to habitat loss and reef degradation because of an assumed large effective population size that is highly connected and/or stable with enhanced genetic variability. Therefore, the estimated habitat loss of 20% from reefs already destroyed within its range is the best inference of population reduction since it may survive in coral reefs already at the critical stage of degradation (Wilkinson 2004). This inference of population reduction over three generation lengths (30 years) does not meet the threshold of a threat category. However, since this population reduction estimate is close to a threatened threshold, and because this species is moderately susceptible to a number of threats, it is likely to be one of the species lost on some reefs currently at the critical stage of degradation and therefore is Near Threatened. Predicted threats from climate change and ocean acidification make it important to reassess this species in 10 years or sooner, particularly if the species is actually observed to disappear from reefs currently at the critical stage of reef degradation.
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Population

Population
This species is common and very widely distributed.

There is no species specific population information available for this species. However, there is evidence that overall coral reef habitat has declined, and this is used as a proxy for population decline for this species. This species is more resilient to some of the threats faced by corals and therefore population decline is estimated using the percentage of destroyed reefs only (Wilkinson 2004). We assume that most, if not all, mature individuals will be removed from a destroyed reef and that on average, the number of individuals on reefs are equal across its range and proportional to the percentage of destroyed reefs. Reef losses throughout the species' range have been estimated over three generations, two in the past and one projected into the future.

The age of first maturity of most reef building corals is typically three to eight years (Wallace 1999) and therefore we assume that average age of mature individuals is greater than eight years. Furthermore, based on average sizes and growth rates, we assume that average generation length is 10 years, unless otherwise stated. Total longevity is not known, but likely to be more than ten years. Therefore any population decline rates for the Red List assessment are measured over at least 30 years. Follow the link below for further details on population decline and generation length estimates.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is targeted for the aquarium trade. Indonesia is the largest exporter with an annual quota of 28,000 live pieces in 2005. Fiji had an export quota of 410 pieces in 2,005.

In general, the major threat to corals is global climate change, in particular, temperature extremes leading to bleaching and increased susceptibility to disease, increased severity of ENSO events and storms, and ocean acidification.

Coral disease has emerged as a serious threat to coral reefs worldwide and a major cause of reef deterioration (Weil et al. 2006). The numbers of diseases and coral species affected, as well as the distribution of diseases have all increased dramatically within the last decade (Porter et al. 2001, Green and Bruckner 2000, Sutherland et al. 2004, Weil 2004). Coral disease epizootics have resulted in significant losses of coral cover and were implicated in the dramatic decline of acroporids in the Florida Keys (Aronson and Precht 2001, Porter et al. 2001, Patterson et al. 2002). In the Indo-Pacific, disease is also on the rise with disease outbreaks recently reported from the Great Barrier Reef (Willis et al. 2004), Marshall Islands (Jacobson 2006) and the northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Aeby 2006). Increased coral disease levels on the GBR were correlated with increased ocean temperatures (Willis et al. 2007) supporting the prediction that disease levels will be increasing with higher sea surface temperatures. Escalating anthropogenic stressors combined with the threats associated with global climate change of increases in coral disease, frequency and duration of coral bleaching and ocean acidification place coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific at high risk of collapse.

Localized threats to corals include fisheries, human development (industry, settlement, tourism, and transportation), changes in native species dynamics (competitors, predators, pathogens and parasites), invasive species (competitors, predators, pathogens and parasites), dynamite fishing, chemical fishing, pollution from agriculture and industry, domestic pollution, sedimentation, and human recreation and tourism activities.

The severity of these combined threats to the global population of each individual species is not known.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Import of this species to E.U. countries was banned in 2003 under CITES regulations (this negative opinion is reviewed regularly and suspensions can be lifted/implemented in response to new data).

All corals are listed on CITES Appendix II. Parts of the species’ range fall within Marine Protected Areas.

Recommended measures for conserving this species include research in taxonomy, population, abundance and trends, ecology and habitat status, threats and resilience to threats, restoration action; identification, establishment and management of new protected areas; expansion of protected areas; recovery management; and disease, pathogen and parasite management. Artificial propagation and techniques such as cryo-preservation of gametes may become important for conserving coral biodiversity.

Having timely access to national-level trade data for CITES analysis reports would be valuable for monitoring trends this species. The species is targeted by collectors for the aquarium trade and fisheries management is required for the species, e.g., MPAs, quotas, size limits, etc. Consideration of the suitability of species for aquaria should also be included as part of fisheries management, and population surveys should be carried out to monitor the effects of harvesting. Recommended conservation measures include population surveys to monitor the effects of collecting for the aquarium trade, especially in Indonesia.
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Wikipedia

Plerogyra sinuosa

Plerogyra sinuosa is a species of "bubble coral". It has grape-sized bubbles which increase their surface area according to the amount of light available: they are larger during the day, but smaller during the night, when tentacles reach out to capture food. This species requires low light and a gentle water flow. Common names for Plerogyra sinuosa include "grape coral", "bladder coral", "pearl coral" and "branching bubble coral".[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Descriptions and articles about the Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa)." Brief summary. EOL. Web. 17 Mar 2014. <http://eol.org/pages/1006618/details>.
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