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Overview

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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© Hexacorallians of the World

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Distribution

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

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Range Description

This species occurs in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, and the Bahamas. May also be present in Bermuda, but this requires confirmation.
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Source: IUCN

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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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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
M. faveolata is found from 1-30 m in backreef and fore-reef habitats, and is often the most abundant coral between 10-20 m in fore-reef environments.

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 5783 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 4348 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 109.375
  Temperature range (°C): 19.819 - 28.067
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.115 - 8.028
  Salinity (PPS): 34.667 - 36.556
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.986 - 4.773
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.042 - 0.379
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.805 - 5.080

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 109.375

Temperature range (°C): 19.819 - 28.067

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.115 - 8.028

Salinity (PPS): 34.667 - 36.556

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.986 - 4.773

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.042 - 0.379

Silicate (umol/l): 0.805 - 5.080
 
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

Barcode data: Montastraea faveolata

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 4 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ATCCGTTGGGTTTTCTCTACAAATCATAAAGACATAGGAACTTTATATTTAGTTTTTGGTGTTGGAGCAGGTCAAATTGGGACTGCTTTTAGTATGCTTATACGATTGGAGCTTTCTGCGCCAGGCGCGATGTTAGGTGAT---GATCATCTTTATAATGTAATTGTAACAGCACATGCTTTGATTATGATTTTTTTTTTAGTAATGCCGGTTATGATTGGGGGGTTTGGAAACTGGCTAGTGCCATTATATATTGGGGCACCGGATATGGCGTTCCCCCGATTAAATAATATTAGTTTTTGGTTATTACCACCTGCTTTGTTTTTATTGTTAGGCTCTGCTTTTGTTGAACAAGGCGCAGGAACGGGATGAACGGTTTATCCTCCTCTTTCTGATATTTATGCGCACTCTGGGGGTTCTGTTGACATGGTTATTTTTAGTCTTCATTTGGCTGGGGTTTCTTCTATCTTAGGAGCAATAAACTTTATTACAACGATTTTCAACATGCGAGCCCCTGGTGTCTCTTTTAATAGAATGCCCTTGTTTGTTTGGTCTATTTTAATAACTGCTTTTTTATTACTTTTATCTTTGCCTGTGTTAGCGGGTGCAATTACTATGTTATTAACAGATCGAAATTTTAATACAACTTTTTTTGATCCTTCTGGAGGTGGGGATCCTATTTTGTTCCAACATTTATTTTGGTTTTTTGGGCACCCCGAAGTTTATATTTTAATTTTGCCTGGTTTTGGTATAATTTCTCAAATAATACCTACTTTTGTTGCTAAAAAACAAATTTTTGGGTATTTAGGGATGGTTTATGCGATGCTTTCAATTGGTCTTCTTGGGTTTATTGTTTGAGCCCATCATATGTTTACAGTTGGGATGGATGTGGACACAAGAG
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Montastraea faveolata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Genomic DNA is available from 3 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at British Antarctic Survey
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© Ocean Genome Legacy

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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: While this species is relatively widespread, it has declined by over 50% in a 30 year period primarily due to disease and bleaching and is listed as endangered by the IUCN (Aronson et al 2008).

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2ace

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Aronson, R., Bruckner, A., Moore, J., Precht, B. & E. Weil

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

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Endangered as the species is believed to have undergone a decline exceeding 50% over the past 30 years due in particular to the effects of disease and bleaching, as well as other factors. Current rates of mortality are exceeding growth and recruitment, and current threats are increasing and spreading into new areas. Due to their extreme longevity, low rates of recruitment and long generation times, scope for recovery of populations is limited. If current trends continue, this species may warrant listing in a higher category of threat.
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Population

Population
In the last 20 years, there has been a severe decline in the overall cover and abundance of M. faveolata in several parts of the Caribbean. For example, 90% of the species was lost in the coastal waters off Jamaica from 1980 through 1994 (Hughes, 1994). Off the coast of eastern Puerto Rico, declines in cover were recorded at between 40 and 60% (Hernandez-Delgado 2005), at around 40% off south-eastern PR (E. Weil pers. comm.), 40-80% off Desecheo Island and Mona Island (Bruckner and Bruckner 2006, A. Bruckner pers. comm.), and 72% in St John, US Virgin Islands, between 1988 and 1999 (Edmunds and Elahi 2007). Dustan and Halas (1987) observed a 31% decline in cover of M. faveolata on Carysfort Reef (Key Largo) between 1975 and 1982, with a 21% decline in colony size.

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 generation length estimates.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The major threats to the species are infectious diseases (e.g., plague, yellow band and black band disease) and bleaching. Other threats include predation by Sparisoma viride (Stoplight Parrotfish), hurricane damage, and loss of habitat at the recruitment stage due to algal overgrowth and sedimentation, as well as localized impacts due to bioerosion by sponges and other organisms, and other diseases.

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). 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 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
In the US, it is present in many MPAs, including Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Biscayne N.P., Dry Tortugas National Park, Buck Island Reef National Monument and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Also present Hol Chan Marine Reserve (Belize), Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (Bahamas). In US waters, it is illegal to harvest corals for commercial purposes. (Aronson, R., Precht, W., Moore, J., Weil, E., and Bruckner, A. pers. comm.)

All corals are listed on CITES Appendix II.

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.
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