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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
Rathbun, 1887 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Cairns, Hoeksema, and van der Land, 1999 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Veron and Pichon, 1982 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Yabe and Sugiyama, 1935 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Veron, 2000 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Crossland, 1952 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is found in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, the southwest and northern Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, the central Indo-Pacific, Australia, South-east Asia, Japan and the South China Sea, the oceanic West Pacific, the central and eastern Pacific, and the Hawaiian Islands, Johnston Atoll, Palau and the Mariana Islands (Randall 1995).

In the Eastern Tropical Pacific region, this species is present in: Mexico: Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima and Guerrero (Reyes-Bonilla and López-Pérez 1998, Reyes-Bonilla et al. 2005, Reyes-Bonilla 2003, Reyes-Bonilla et al. 1999, Reyes-Bonilla 2001, Ketchum and Reyes-Bonilla 2001, Pérez-Vivar et al. 2006, Glynn and Ault 2000, Guzmán and Cortés 1993); Costa Rica: Peninsula de Santa Elena, Culebra Bay, Brasilito Bay, Sámara, Cabo Blanco, Bahía Ballena, Punta Leona, Manuel Antonio, Punta Dominical, Punta Uvita, Peninsula de Osa, Golfo Dulce, Caño Island and Cocos Island (Cortés and Guzmán 1998, Cortés and Jiménez 2003, Alvarado et al. 2005, Guzmán and Cortés 1993, Glynn and Ault 2000); Panama: throughout the Gulf of Panama and Chiriquí (Maté 2003, Guzmán et al. 2004, Guzmán and Cortés 1993, Glynn 1997, Glynn and Ault 2000); Colombia: Malpelo Island, Gorgona Island, Ensenada de Utría and Tebada (Zapata and Vargas-Ángel 2003, Glynn and Ault 2000, Guzmán and Cortés 1993); Ecuador: Salango Island, Los Frailes, Sucre Island, and La Plata Island in mainland Ecuador, and throughout the Galápagos Islands (Glynn and Wellington 1983, Glynn 2003, Glynn and Ault 2000, Hickman 2005, Guzmán and Cortés 1993); Clipperton Atoll (Glynn et al. 1996, Glynn and Ault 2000).
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Description

Colonies reach several metres diameter. A rough first guide to distinguishing this species from Porites lutea seems to be that, whereas the latter grows either vertical ridges or vertically projecting columns, P. lobata tends to develop drooping lobes. However, colonies of both may be equally irregular. The septal triplet have free margins, and hence resemble P. solida rather than P. lutea. It is found in very similar habitat to P. lutea, forming huge colonies in clear water to about 15 m deep (Sheppard, 1998). Colonies are hemispherical or helmet-shaped and may be very large. Colour: usually cream or pale brown but may be bright blue, purple or green in shallow water. Abundance: very common and frequently a dominant, with P. lutea and P. australiensis. Of back reef margins, lagoons and some fringing reef (Veron, 1986).
  • Veron, J.E.N. (1986). Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. Angus & Robertson Publishers, London.
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Type Information

Syntype for Porites lobata Dana, 1846
Catalog Number: USNM 646
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Dry
Locality: Hawaii, United States, North Pacific Ocean
  • Syntype: Dana. 1846. Zoophytes. 7: 562, pl.55, fig.1.
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Syntype for Porites lobata Dana, 1846
Catalog Number: USNM 652
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Dry
Locality: Hawaii, United States, North Pacific Ocean
  • Syntype: Dana. 1846. Zoophytes. 7: 562, pl.55, fig.1.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is frequently a dominant species of back reef margins, lagoons and some fringing reefs, and can be found generally to depths of 30 m.

It is one of the predominant framework builders (Glynn 2000), sometimes building monospecific reef frameworks or contributing to pocilloporid reef building (Glynn 2001). Porites lobata is a relatively slow-growing species with reported growth rates of 8.4 mm/year in Costa Rica and 8.1 mm/year in the Galápagos; however it can grow as fast as 14 to 19 mm/year during the first few years (Guzmán and Cortes 1993, Cortés and Guzmán 1998, Guzmán and Cortés 1989).

P. lobata utilizes a gonochoristic reproductive strategy (except from Caño Island, Costa Rica), and is presumably a broadcaster spawner (Glynn et al. 1994). Glynn et al. (1994) suggested that eastern Pacific populations appeared to be reproductively active over multiple annual intervals, including periods of relatively low temperature. According to Glynn et al. (1994), fecundity can vary between regions; P. lobata has higher fecundities at Caño Island, Costa Rica, and Uva Island, Panama, than in the Galápagos Islands, where water temperatures are lower and more seasonally variable. Moreover, Glynn et al. (1994) suggest that P. lobata reproduces twice per year in thermally high and stable environments. Fecundity of this coral appears to benefit from moderate sea warming events, but may decline dramatically during unusually strong thermal anomalies (Glynn et al. 1994). After 1983, observations of sexual recruitment have been rare to infrequent in the eastern Pacific; however sexual recruitment has been observed in some areas of the Galápagos Islands (Glynn et al. 1994). The almost complete absence of sexual recruitment for this species in the eastern Pacific may be due to high larval mortality in the water column; as well as increased levels of competition with benthic alga, and increased densities of grazers and bioeroders following the 1982-83 El Niño event (Glynn et al. 1994).

Porites lobata can also reproduce asexually by fragmentation (Guzmán and Cortés 1989, Cortés and Guzmán 1998, Cortés and Jiménez 2003). In the eastern Pacific the incidental feeding activities of the triggerfish Pseudobalistes naufragium can generate fragments that survive to form new colonies (Guzmán and Cortés 1989, Cortés and Guzmán 1998, Glynn et al. 1994). This form of fragmentation is common in Costa Rica and Panama, but uncommon in the Galápagos Islands (Glynn et al. 1994). Fragmentation also occurs by initial weakening of colonies by bioeroders; P. lobata colonies possess high densities of boring bivalves (Lithophaga spp.), which erode the skeletal structure, a process that can also lead to fragmentation (Cortés and Jiménez 2003, Glynn et al. 1994).

At least eight fish species feed on live corals, with their feeding strategies ranging from removing mainly live tissue and causing little damage to the skeleton, to abrading or breaking apart colonies in the feeding process, such as during feeding of Arothron meleagris and Pseudobalistes naufragium (Guzmán and Cortes 1989, Glynn 2001). Porites lobata is commonly grazed by the puffer Arothron meleagris (Guzmán and Robertson 1989, Glynn et al. 1994).

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 10043 specimens in 7 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 6834 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 76.5
  Temperature range (°C): 21.179 - 28.540
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.003 - 4.021
  Salinity (PPS): 33.101 - 35.506
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.467 - 5.213
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.067 - 0.566
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.836 - 3.925

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 76.5

Temperature range (°C): 21.179 - 28.540

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.003 - 4.021

Salinity (PPS): 33.101 - 35.506

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.467 - 5.213

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.067 - 0.566

Silicate (umol/l): 0.836 - 3.925
 
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: Porites lobata

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


There are 5 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.

TTTGGGATTGGGGCAGGTATGCTCGGTACAGCTTTC---AGTATGTTAATAAGATTAGAGCTCTCGGCTCCGGGGGCTATGTTAGGAGAC---GATCATCTTTATAATGTAATTGTTACAGCACACGCTTTTATTATGATCTTTTTTTTGGTTATGCCAGTGATGATAGGGGGATTTGGGAATTGGTTGATTCCATTA---TATATTGGGGCACCTGATATGGCTTTCCCACGGCTTAATAACATTAGTTTTTGGCTGTTGCCCCCTGCTTTAATATTGTTATTAGGTTCTGCTTTTGTTGAACAAGGGGCGGGTACCGGATGAACGGTTTATCCTCCTCTATCTAGCATTCAGGCCCATTCTGGTGGGGCGGTGGATATG---GCTATTTTTAGTCTCCATTTAGCTGGGGTGTCCTCGATTTTGGGTGCAATGAATTTTATAACAACTATATTTAATATGAGGGCCCCTGGGCTAACGTTGAATAGAATGCCCTTATTTGTGTGGTCTATCTTGATCACTGCTTTTTTATTATTATTGTCTTTGCCCGTATTAGCGGGG---GCCATAACCATGCTTTTAACGGACAGAAACTTTAATACTACTTTCTTTGACCCTGCAGGGGGGGGAGATCCGATTTTATTTCAA
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Porites lobata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Sheppard, A., Fenner, D., Edwards, A., Abrar, M. & Ochavillo, D.

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 very common throughout its range, is moderately susceptible to bleaching but recovers quickly, 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 18% 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. However, this species is susceptible to bleaching and disease and is collected for the aquarium trade, therefore it is listed as Near Threatened. 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 probably the most common Porites, especially in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. According to Guzmán and Cortés (1993), P. lobata is one of the most important hermatypic coral from the south section of the Eastern Tropical Pacific region. Additionally, Cortés and Guzmán (1998), considered P. lobata as the most important reef framework builder in the Caño and Cocos Islands, Costa Rica.

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 the Eastern Tropical Pacific, Porites lobata was greatly affected by the 1982-83 El Niño event (Guzmán pers. comm.) at Caño Island, Costa Rica, where live cover declined by about 68% (Guzmán et al. 1987). Populations were even more reduced in Cocos Island (to 3%) (Guzmán and Cortes 1992), but had recovered after 20 years (Guzmán and Cortes 2006). High mortalities (95-100%) were also reported in the Galápagos from many sites (e.g., San Cristobal and Santa Cruz), and high partial mortality (<1-18% live tissue remaining) was found at most sites (Glynn 1990, Glynn et al. 1994).

In the Indo-Pacific, this species exhibited moderate bleaching and mortality (10-40%) in the 1998 bleaching event in Palau (Brunno et al. 2001).

Porites is heavily collected for the aquarium trade. In Indonesia, the catch quota for this genus is 55,500 per year; annual collection quota for P. lobata is 3,000 (Terangi Indonesian Coral Reef Foundation, unpublished data).

The genus is not particularly susceptible to bleaching, but is more prone to disease than many other corals. Coral disease has emerged as a serious threat to coral reefs worldwide and is 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 Great Barrier Reef 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.

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. In addition to global climate change, corals are also threatened by a number of localized threats. 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 this species distribution fall within several Marine Protected Areas within its range.

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., Marine Protected Areas, 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.
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Wikipedia

Porites lobata

Porites lobata, known by the common name lobe coral, is a species of stony coral in the family Poritidae. It is found growing on coral reefs in tropical parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.[2]

Description[edit]

Rice coral (Montipora capitata) growing over Porites lobata

Porites lobata is a hermatypic or reef-building coral. It varies greatly in size and shape depending on its environment. On wave-exposed reef slopes it is encrusting whereas in calm water areas it can grow into large helmet-shaped or hemispherical hummocks up to 6 metres (20 ft) high and wide. Growth rates are very slow, sometimes being as little as 1 centimetre (0.39 in) per year, and this means that large corals are very old. The general colour is greenish, yellow or tan because of the zooxanthellae, single-celled microalgae, that live symbiotically within the tissues. These make organic nutrients available to the polyps through photosynthesis.[3][4]

The corallites are very small and closely packed. They are joined directly to one another by fused but porous walls and have diagnostic skeletal characteristics that are only visible under the microscope. The septae are also fused. The polyps are 1 millimetre (0.04 in) in diameter and the collumella covering the skeleton is thin.[5]

Distribution[edit]

Porites lobata is a common species of coral and is found in the tropical parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The range extends from East Africa, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, through Indonesia and Australian waters to the Pacific coasts of California and Central America.[1] It is the most common coral species in Hawaii.[4] It is often the dominant species on reef margins, in lagoons and on fringing reefs at depths down to 30 metres (98 ft).[1] It occurs in a slightly deeper zone than cauliflower coral.[6]

Biology[edit]

Porites lobata is gonochoristic which means that individual colonies are either male or female. Gametes are liberated into the water column and the developing planula larvae drift with the currents as part of the zooplankton. These later settle, undergo metamorphosis and develop into polyps which found new colonies. Mortality is very high and very few recruits are found in the Eastern Pacific. Fragments of coral that become detached from the colony may also develop into new colonies. Breakup may happen as a result of wave damage or it may be due to the skeletal structure of the coral being weakened by the boring activities of date mussels (Lithophaga spp.) or the feeding activities of fish such as the stone triggerfish (Pseudobalistes naufragium).[1]

Ecology[edit]

Porites lobata forms part of the coral reef biome. Several fish species live among the lobes of the coral, some sheltering there and others, like the puffer fish (Arothron meleagris) grazing on the polyps.[1] The snapping or pistol shrimp (Alpheus deuteropus) is a commensal and lives among the lobes where it may form grooves and tunnels.[4][6]

Threats[edit]

Porites lobata is one of the more resilient species of coral. A rise in sea temperature may kill the zooxanthellae and cause bleaching, however, it is more resistant to bleaching than many corals and if bleaching does occur, it often recovers. Tropical reefs in general are under threat from many causes. These include El Nino events, ocean acidification which tends to dissolve the coral skeleton, trawling which results in mechanical damage to reefs, coral diseases which kill the polyps and the collection of corals for the aquarium trade.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Porites lobata IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  2. ^ a b WoRMS (2010). "Porites lobata; Dana, 1846". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  3. ^ Porites lobata The Genome Institute. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  4. ^ a b c Genus Porites, Family Poritidae: Porites lobata WetWebMedia.com. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  5. ^ Chang-feng Dai, Sharon Horng. Scleractinia Fauna of Taiwan: Complex group. Google Books. pp. 110–115. 
  6. ^ a b Marine Life Profile: Lobe Coral Waikïkï Aquarium. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
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