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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

zooxanthellate or azooxanthellate
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Comprehensive Description

Biology: Skeleton

More info
AuthorSkeleton?Mineral or Organic?MineralPercent Magnesium
Cairns, den Hartog, and Arneson, 1986 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Verrill, 1905 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Veron, 2000 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Cairns, Hoeksema, and van der Land, 1999 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
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© Hexacorallians of the World

Source: Hexacorallians of the World

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Distribution

Range Description

This species occurs in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico (but not in the Flower Gardens), Florida, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. It is unclear whether descriptions of this coral in the Gulf of Mexico are actually of this species and not of O. varicosa.
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© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species occurs predominantly in soft-bottom habitats, including seagrass beds, branching coral thickets, sloping fore reef and back reef environments, in deeper lagoon habitats, and in the roots and sediments of mangrove islands. Found from 0.5-30 m, but most abundant from 1-15 m. This species is generally resistant to high rates of sedimentation, salinity and temperature changes.

Systems
  • Marine
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Source: IUCN

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Depth range based on 61 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 48 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1.75 - 159
  Temperature range (°C): 19.285 - 27.668
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.221 - 9.326
  Salinity (PPS): 35.207 - 36.531
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.681 - 4.895
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.027 - 0.468
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.217 - 3.422

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 1.75 - 159

Temperature range (°C): 19.285 - 27.668

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.221 - 9.326

Salinity (PPS): 35.207 - 36.531

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.681 - 4.895

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.027 - 0.468

Silicate (umol/l): 1.217 - 3.422
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Dispersal

Depth range

0-25 m
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Oculina diffusa

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


There are 2 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.

AAAGATATTGGTACTTTATATTTAGTCTTTGGTGTTGGGGCAGGGCTAATTGGGACTGCTTTT---AGTATGCTTATACGACTGGAGCTTTCTGCGCCAGGCGCTATGTTAGGTGAT---GATCATCTTTATAATGTAATTGTAACAGCACATGCTTTTATTATGATTTTCTTTTTAGTAATGCCGGTTATGATTGGGGGATTTGGAAACTGGTTGGTGCCATTA---TATATTGGGGCACCGGATATGGCGTTCCCCCGATTAAATAATATTAGTTTTTGGTTGTTACCGCCTGCTTTGCTTTTATTGTTAGGCTCTGCTTTTGTTGAACAAGGTGCAGGAACGGGATGGACGGTTTATCCTCCTCTTTCTGATATTTATGCTCATTCTGGGGGTTCTGTTGATATG---GTTATCTTTAGTCTTCATTTAGCTGGGGTTTCTTCTATCTTAGGAGCAATAAATTTTATTACAACGATTTTTAATATGCGAGCTCCTGGTGTTTCTTTTAATAGAATGCCTTTGTTTGTTTGGTCTATTTTAATAACTGCGTTTTTATTGCTTTTATCTTTGCCTGTATTAGCGGGT---GCAATCACTATGTTGTTAACAGATCGAAATTTTAATACAACTTTTTTTGATCCTTCTGGGGGTGGAGATCCTATTTTATTCCAACATTTATTTTGATTTTTTGGT
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Oculina diffusa

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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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

Source: Ocean Genome Resource

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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
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
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 locally abundant throughout its range and threats operating are not known to be resulting in any significant population declines. Therefore, the estimated habitat loss of 10% 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 species is widespread in soft-bottom habitats, and may be locally abundant.

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
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
A major threat affecting this species could be bottom-tending fishing gear (trawls, traps, longlines). Not reported to be affected by bleaching or disease.

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
Listed on CITES Appendix II. In the US, it is present in many MPAs, including Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Biscayne N.P. and Dry Tortugas National Park. In US waters, it is illegal to harvest corals for commercial purposes.

There is a need to evaluate the impacts associated with trawls and fishtraps in habitats where this coral occurs. (Aronson, R., Precht, W., Moore, J., Weil, E., and Bruckner, A. pers. comm.)

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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Wikipedia

Oculina diffusa

Oculina diffusa is a coral found mainly on the east coast of central Florida. It is also found in North Carolina, Burma, the Bahamas, and West Indies. Its common name is the ivory bush coral. It is found in shallow water, usually down to 3 metres (9.8 ft) deep but occasionally as deep as 20 metres (66 ft). Its colonies are dense and have a yellow-brown color. It favours areas with high amounts of sedimentation.

Physical appearance[edit]

Colonies of Oculina diffusa are usually about 30 centimetres (12 in) in diameter and have twisting narrow branches less than half an inch in diameter. Colonies have been recorded at temperatures ranging from 13–31 degrees Celsius.

Food[edit]

Oculina diffusa normally eat plankton and small fish, though some have also been known to filter feed on tiny particles in the water.

Reproduction[edit]

The ivory bush coral reproduces sexually by broadcast spawning. In shallow water, this is believed to occur between July and August, and during September in deeper water.[2] After being planktonic, the larva sinks to the bottom where it grows into a polyp. This produces buds asexually and develops into a colony.

References[edit]

  1. ^ WoRMS (2010). "Oculina diffusa Lamarck, 1816". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2011-12-15. 
  2. ^ http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/species/ivorytreecoral_detailed.pdf
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