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, southwest and central Indian Ocean, the central Indo-Pacific, Australia, southern Japan and the South China Sea, and the oceanic west Pacific.

Hawaii (Fenner 2005); New Caledonia (Pichon 2006); the Solomons (TNC); American Samoa (Fenner pers. comm.).
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Indo-W Pacific to Galapagos
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Description

The coralla are leafy, often several together in whorls. The surface of the coralla are smooth. Calices are tiny, often no greater than pin-pricks, aligned in rows, each row separated from others by up to 1 cm. Septo-costae are equal in size. This species is one of the commonest members of the genus, occupying both shallow and deep water habitats. (Sheppard, 1998 <308>) Colonies are laminar plates either encrusting or in whorls or tiers, with or without radiating folds. Corallites are in irregular rows parallel to the margins, and are small and shallow. Columellae are conspicuous. Septo-costae are fine. Colour: cream or brown. Abundance: Uncommon, found on vertical or overhang walls. (Veron, 1986 <57>)
  • Veron, J.E.N. (1986). Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. Angus & Robertson Publishers, London.
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Type Information

Paratype for Leptoseris foliosa Dinesen, 1980
Catalog Number: USNM 54200
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Dry
Collector(s): Z. Dinesen
Locality: Palm Island, Esk Island, Queensland, Australia, South Pacific Ocean
Depth (m): 8 to 8
  • Paratype: Dinesen. 1980. Mem. Queensland Mus. 20(1): 199-200, pl.14.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is usually found on lower reef slopes and on vertical or overhung walls. This species is found from 15-30 m.

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 1 specimen in 1 taxon.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 12 - 12
 
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
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 21% 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 an uncommon coral.

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
The total number of corals (live and raw) exported for this species in 2005 was five.

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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