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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

zooxanthellate
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

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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
Veron, 2000 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Wallace, 1999 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Widespread distribution in the tropical western Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico, southern Florida, Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Belize, Puerto Rico, Lesser Antilles and Bonaire. Smith (1971): Florida Keys, Bahamas. Colin (1978): Caribbean. Cairns (1982): Belize.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Marine

Comments: Occupies depth range from 0-30 m, but typically occurs less than 10 m (Goreau and Wells, 1967).

A67GOR01FCUS: 0 to 30 m (7 m optimum depth). A82CAI01FCUS: seaward of reef crest, 0.5 to 2.0 m. A82DAV00FCUS: bank reef type. A59GOR01FCUS: rear zone, reef flat, buttress zone and A. cervicornis zone. J88WHE00FCUS: spur and groove.

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Depth range based on 33 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 20 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 4.6
  Temperature range (°C): 26.990 - 28.067
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.412 - 3.505
  Salinity (PPS): 36.137 - 36.352
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.507 - 4.583
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.047 - 0.175
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.779 - 4.727

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 4.6

Temperature range (°C): 26.990 - 28.067

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.412 - 3.505

Salinity (PPS): 36.137 - 36.352

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.507 - 4.583

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.047 - 0.175

Silicate (umol/l): 2.779 - 4.727
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

SEDENTARY

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: Information is needed on the number of occurrences in the tropical western Atlantic.

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Global Abundance

1000 - 2500 individuals

Comments: Restricted to high-relief reef communities such as spur and groove reefs, fore-reef communities, and deeper intermediate reefs (Goreau, 1959; Goreau and Wells, 1967; Cairns, 1982; Wheaton and Jaap, 1988).

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General Ecology

A84PET01FCUS, A81ANT02FCUS: white band disease reported for other species in genus. A92COL01FCUS: salinity tolerance range for genus between 18 and 40 ppt. A78GLA01FCUS: annual growth of 59.2-81.9 mm/yr.

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

No specific studies on reproductive ecology. Species is most likely a hermaphroditic broadcast spawner with typically low rates of recruitment.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G2 - Imperiled

Reasons: This is a hybrid between Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata (Vollmer and Palumbi 2002), but has conservation value by virtue of it's being a part of coral reef communities and being the progeny of two federally listed species and is very rare.

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Populations believed to be stable but information needed on status and trend of extant populations.

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Threats

Degree of Threat: A : Very threatened throughout its range communities directly exploited or their composition and structure irreversibly threatened by man-made forces, including exotic species

Comments: Like other Acroporids, species is highly susceptible to sedimentation, eutrophication, boat groundings and anchor damage.

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Management

Biological Research Needs: Data needed on recruitment patterns and reproductive ecology.

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Global Protection: Few (1-3) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: Few protected occurrences limited to marine protected areas in southern Florida.

Needs: Marine protected areas need to install mooring buoys proximate to extant populations.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

Stewardship Overview: Populations on nearshore reef communities need to be monitored for viability as related to water quality.

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Risk Statement

This species is susceptible to White Band Disease (WBD).WBD has affected elkhorn and staghorn coral populations throughout the Caribbean since the late 1970s, and has been the most significant cause of mortality to these corals. WBD has transformed thriving stands of living coral to graveyards of skeletons and rubble fields, many still in upright growth position. Colonies affected by WBD have a distinct margin of slowly advancing tissue decay, which exposes a starkly contrasting bright white area of limestone skeleton adjacent to the dying tissue. The band of tissue that died most recently may be a few millimeters or up to 10 centimeters wide, but this is colonized by algae in a matter of days.

Tissue loss averages about 5 mm per day, but can occur much faster. Some episodes of WBD begin in the middle of a colony, especially where a colony branches. Often, the entire colony is not killed, but colonies that recover from one episode of WBD can suffer later episodes of tissue loss from WBD. (Bruckner, accessed March 30, 2012)

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Hammock, Jen

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Wikipedia

Acropora prolifera

Acropora prolifera, the fused staghorn coral, is a branching, colonial, stony coral found in shallow parts of the Caribbean Sea, the Bahamas and southern Florida.

Description[edit]

Acropora prolifera is very similar to staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) in appearance but usually forms smaller, denser clumps. The branches are mostly horizontal and often divide near the tip, sometimes fusing with other branches. It also resembles elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and genetic studies show that it is a hybrid between that and staghorn coral.[2] The corallites, the calcareous skeletal cups in which the polyps sit, are tubular and protrude from the surface of the branches. They are tightly packed and arranged in linear rows and there is a larger corallite at the tip of each branch. The branches are up to 2 cm (0.8 in) in diameter and the whole colony may grow to 1.2 metres (3 ft 11 in) across. The general colour is pale yellowish-brown and the branches have paler tips.[3]

Distribution[edit]

Acropora prolifera is found in the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas and southern Florida southwards to Colombia and Venezuela.[2] It is generally found on outer reef slopes, in calm-water bays and in the lee of land masses, most commonly at a depth of around 7 metres (23 ft) but occasionally down to about 30 metres (98 ft). It is generally an uncommon species.[3][4]

Biology[edit]

Many reef corals have mass spawning events when vast numbers of gametes are released into the sea at the same time. This happens with elkhorn and stagshorn corals and when these sympatric corals spawn at the same time, F1 hybrids can be formed.[5] These cannot propagate sexually but can reproduce asexually to increase the number of individuals.[5] In the case of Acropora prolifera, hybrids come in two forms. Where the female gamete is derived from the elkhorn coral, the resulting offspring is bushy and compact. Where the female gamete comes from staghorn coral, the offspring adopts a more palmately dividing form.[2]

Acropora prolifera is a zooxanthellate coral,[1] the tissues containing dinoflagellates which live symbiotically within the cells. These are photosynthetic and use the carbon dioxide and waste products of the coral while at the same time supplying oxygen and organic compounds to their host.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b van der Land, Jacob (2012). "Acropora prolifera (Lamarck, 1816)". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  2. ^ a b c "Acropora prolifera (Lamarck 1816)". Coralpedia. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  3. ^ a b "Fused staghorn coral (Acropora prolifera)". Interactive Guide to Caribbean Diving. Marine Species Identification Portal. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  4. ^ Colin, Patrick L. (1978). Marine Invertebrates and Plants of the Living Reef. T.F.H. Publications. p. 223–226. ISBN 0-86622-875-6. 
  5. ^ a b Vollmer, Steven V.; Palumbi, Stephen R. (2002). "Hybridization and the Evolution of Reef Coral Diversity". Science 296 (5575): 2023–2025. doi:10.1126/science.1069524. 
  6. ^ Dorit, R. L.; Walker, W. F.; Barnes, R. D. (1991). Zoology. Saunders College Publishing. p. 612. ISBN 0-03-030504-7. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Recent genetic research has determined the species is a hybrid (F1 generation) between A. cervicornis and A. palmata (NMFS, 2005).

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