Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

zooxanthellate
  • 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
Genzano et al., 1996 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Zibrowius, 1980 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Veron, 2000 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Cairns, Hoeksema, and van der Land, 1999 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is limited to the Mediterranean Sea.
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Source: IUCN

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is found on rocky foreshores and caves.

This species is abundant in wide areas along the Israeli coast at a depth range of 0.5-10 m. It is found in natural habitats of sandstone reefs and disturbed sites such as areas exposed to domestic and industrial pollution, artificial boulders, submerged metal objects, jetties and marinas. Azooxanthellate colonies can be found in dark caves and crevices at a depth of 1-6 m. This species has the ability to live and reproduce under varying and diversified environmental conditions, such as a wide range of water temperatures, salinity, UV radiation, turbidity and strong wave energy (Fine et al. 2001).

This species is a gonochoric coral, which spawns for only two nights every year, precisely during the September full moon. This species is able to reproduce sexually while still at small colony size (Fine et al. 2001).

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

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 3 - 3
 
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
2008

Assessor/s
Obura, D., Fenner, D., Hoeksema, B., Devantier, L. & Sheppard, C.

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

Contributor/s

Justification
Habitat degradation is a major threat to this species. It is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea and is uncommon. It is able to live off of coral reefs and in disturbed sites and man-made structures. This species is also capable of living as an azooxanthellate form. Threats include bleaching and disease at high temperatures. Because this species is capable of living in a variety of habitats and is relatively resistant to the stresses of disturbance it is listed as 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 decline.
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Population

Population
This species is uncommon.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Coral bleaching was first recorded along the Israeli coast in the summer of 1993. It was explained by a bacterial infection to which high water temperature was a contributing factor. These bleaching events were assumed to be new and have adverse affects on the ability of this coral to sexually reproduce. Bleaching was not observed in the Western Mediterranean (Fine et al. 2001).

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.
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