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
Veron, 2000 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Veron, 2000 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Cairns, Hoeksema, and van der Land, 1999 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Yabe and Sugiyama, 1941 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is found in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, southwest and central Indian Ocean, the central Indo-Pacific, Australia, southern Japan and the South China Sea, and the oceanic west Pacific. It is found in American Samoa (Fenner pers. comm.).
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Description

Coralla are thin leaves, often symmetrical discs, but also irregular, contorted and even branched. Calices are 3 to 4 mm diameter. In shallow or well lit areas, calices tend to run in rows parallel to the leaf edge, and slightly inclined towards it, and are separated by 3 to 10 mm. As depth increases, calices become more scattered, and in very dim sites the thin leaves have extensive areas without calices. In these, calices may be found near the central attachment area. Septa are strongly alternating. However, in many cases, only the first order septa reach the calice, so that septa around the low calical mound are equal; in such cases, second order calices emerge only outside the calice. This is fairly common on deep reef slopes, generally in clear water. It can survive in extremely low light levels, such as in caves. (Sheppard, 1998 <308>) Colonies are composed of unifacial laminae which may be horizontal with entire or lobed margins, or contorted and partly upright. Corallites are widely spaced and outwardly inclined. Septo-costae alternate strongly, forming fine but conspicuous radiating ridges. Colour: pale brown or yellow-brown, often with white margins. Abundance: seldom common except on vertical or overhang faces, especially of lower reef slopes. (Veron, 1986 <57>) Forms distinctive leaf or plate-like colonies which may be lobed or grow in a complete whorl. The septo-costae connecting the corallites are linear and the corallites themselves protrude outwards, giving a characteristic appearance. Colour: usually pale orange or brown with paler margins. Habitat: vertical sides of deeper 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
This species is found on the lower reef slopes and on vertical walls. This species is found from 15-30 m.

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 19 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 3 - 41
  Temperature range (°C): 28.220 - 28.220
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.355 - 0.355
  Salinity (PPS): 34.479 - 34.479
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.548 - 4.548
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.155 - 0.155
  Silicate (umol/l): 3.405 - 3.405

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 3 - 41
 
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Leptoseris explanata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Genomic DNA is available from 1 specimen with morphological vouchers housed at Queensland Museum
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
Hoeksema, B.W., Rogers, A. & Quibilan, M.C.

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. 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 and this species is Least Concern. However, 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 is a common species.

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
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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