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
Veron, 2000 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Wallace, 1999 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Crossland, 1952 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is found in the south-west and northern Indian Ocean, Red Sea, the central Indo-Pacific, Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan and the East China Sea, the oceanic west Pacific, and the central Pacific. Also found in Palau and Marianas (Randall 1995).
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Description

Colonies have many shapes and may be bottlebrush, caespitose or plate-like. Corallites may be tabular or have thickened walls becoming tubular. Tubular axial corallites may have no radial corallites on one side. Colour: usually pale blue or brown. Axial corallites are usually whitish. Abundance: Very abundant on upper reef slopes but occurs in a wide range of environments (Veron, 1986). Habitat: rocks (Kalk, 1959).
  • 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
This species occurs in shallow, tropical reefs on upper reef slopes, but occurs in a wide range of environments. It occurs subtidally on reef flats, submerged reefs, and upper slopes (Wallace 1999). This species is found from 5-25 m.

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 149 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 48 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 16
  Temperature range (°C): 25.480 - 28.617
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.088 - 0.923
  Salinity (PPS): 34.483 - 35.198
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.544 - 4.685
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.081 - 0.171
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.523 - 3.174

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 16

Temperature range (°C): 25.480 - 28.617

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.088 - 0.923

Salinity (PPS): 34.483 - 35.198

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.544 - 4.685

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.081 - 0.171

Silicate (umol/l): 0.523 - 3.174
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Acropora loripes

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Genomic DNA is available from 4 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at Queensland Museum
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Genomic DNA is available from 1 specimen with morphological vouchers housed at Ocean Genome Legacy
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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
2008

Assessor/s
Richards, Z., Delbeek, J.C., Lovell, E., Bass, D., Aeby, G. & Reboton, C.

Reviewer/s
Livingstone, S., Polidoro, B. & Smith, J. (Global Marine Species Assessment)

Contributor/s

Justification
The most important known threat for this species is extensive reduction of coral reef habitat due to a combination of threats. 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, this species is susceptible to bleaching and disease and is collected for the aquarium trade, therefore it is listed as Near Threatened. Because of predicted threats from climate change and ocean acidification it will be important to reassess this species in 10 years or sooner, particularly if the species is also observed to disappear from reefs currently at the critical stage of reef degradation.
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Population

Population
This species is common in the central Indo-Pacific. It was found at 6 of 6 regions in Indonesia (Wallace et al. 2001).

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
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
Members of this genus have a low resistance and low tolerance to bleaching and disease, and are slow to recover. This species is particularly susceptible to bleaching (Richards pers. comm.). Two different diseases recorded for this species (Willis et al. 2004).

Acanthaster planci, the crown-of-thorns starfish, has been observed preferentially preying upon corals of the genus Acropora (Colgan 1987). Crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) (Acanthaster planci) are found throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Red Sea. These starfish voracious predators of reef-building corals, with a preference for branching and tabular corals such as Acropora species. Populations of the crown-of-thorns starfish have greatly increased since the 1970s and have been known to wipe out large areas of coral reef habitat. Increased breakouts of COTS has become a major threat to some species, and have contributed to the overall decline and reef destruction in the Indo-Pacific region. The effects of such an outbreak include the reduction of abundance and surface cover of living coral, reduction of species diversity and composition, and overall reduction in habitat area.

Acropora species are in the top three genera collected for the aquarium trade. Known in the aquarium trade (Delbeek pers. comm.). The total number of corals (live and raw) exported for this species in 2005 was 2,971.

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
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

Acropora loripes

Acropora loripes is a species of branching colonial stony coral. It is common on reefs, upper reef slopes and reef flats in the tropical Indo-Pacific. Its type locality is the Great Barrier Reef.[2]

Description[edit]

Acropora loripes is a branching colonial coral with a variety of growth forms, forming heads or plate-like layers and sometimes having stalks and resembling bottlebrushes.[2] The branchlets are 5 to 12 mm (0.2 to 0.5 in) wide and up to 45 millimetres (1.8 in) in length. They sometimes have naked tips but below these, the axial corallites are about 3 millimetres (0.12 in) in diameter and the large radial corallites are tubular and crowded together so that they often touch each other.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Acropora loripes is native to the tropical Indo-Pacific. Its range extends from the Red Sea to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia.[3] It occurs subtidally at depths between 5 and 25 metres (16 and 82 ft) in various habitats including upper reef slopes and reef flats.[1]

Biology[edit]

The skeleton of Acropora loripes is secreted by the polyps and is covered by a thin layer of tissue. When feeding, the polyps protrude from the corallites. Each has twelve tentacles, one of which is longer than the others. The interior of the polyps opens into a body cavity which interconnects with other polyps through a system of channels called the coenenchyme. This is a zooxanthellate species of coral[2] and has symbiotic dinoflagellates living within its tissues. These are photosynthetic and provide much of the energy used by the coral. In combination with pigments in the tissue, they are responsible for the yellowish-brown colour of the colony.[3]

Acropora loripes is a hermaphrodite and the different colonies in an area synchronise their breeding activity. In the Great Barrier Reef, mature individuals liberate eggs and sperm into the sea five or six days after the full moon in November and December.[3] Fertilisation is external and the larvae form part of the plankton until settling on the seabed. Here they undergo metamorphosis and new colonies are founded.[3]

Conservation[edit]

Acropora loripes is threatened more by damage to the reefs where it lives rather than specific threats to this coral. Like other members of its genus it is susceptible to bleaching and several coral diseases, and is particularly favoured as part of its diet by the crown-of-thorns starfish which feeds on the external tissue and polyps. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists it as being "Near threatened".[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Richards, Z.T., Delbeek, J.T., Lovell, E.R., Bass, D., Aeby, G. & Reboton, C. (2014). "Acropora loripes". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d van der Land, Jacob (2013). "Acropora loripes (Brook, 1892)". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Wallace, Carden (1999). Staghorn Corals of the World: A Revision of the Genus Acropora. Csiro Publishing. ISBN 0643102817. 
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