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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
Veron, 2000 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Cairns, Hoeksema, and van der Land, 1999 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Veron and Pichon, 1982 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Rathbun, 1887 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Yabe and Sugiyama, 1935 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Ortmann, 1894 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
Faustino, 1927 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
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Distribution

Range Description

This species occurs in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, the southwest and northern Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, the central Indo-Pacific, west, north and east Australia, South-east Asia, Japan and the South China Sea, the oceanic West Pacific, the central and eastern Pacific, and the Hawaiian Islands and Johnston Atoll.
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Description

Colonies reach several metres across when fully grown. They are basically hemispherical, but in moderately or strongly sedimented conditions tend to develop thick, upward growing columns. Important comparative features are that in P. lutea the septal triplet fuse to form a trident, and calices are smaller and walls usually thicker than in P. solida. Also, calices have five or six large pali which help to distinguish this from P. solida. This species is very widespread. It is at its most abundant in sheltered areas such as on back reef slopes of patch reefs and in bays, where huge colonies cover over 75% of the substrate over thousands of square metres, between the surface and 15 m deep. These colonies tend to be columnar in shape, a condition which seems to be initiated by sedimentation into depressions of the surface of the coral and death of the covered sections (Sheppard, 1998). Colonies are hemispherical or helmet-shaped and may be very large. The surface is usually smooth. Colour: usually cream or yellow but may be bright colours in shallow water. Abundance: very common and occurs with P. lobata and P. australiensis on back reef margins, lagoons and fringing reefs (Veron, 1986). Characteristic of the massive species, which are difficult to tell apart. Colonies are hemispherical, often very large, and may be undercut at the base. The outer surface may be loosely folded in flat mounds and ridges but is smooth in texture. Corallites are 1-1.5 mm in diameter. Colour: usually varies from pale grey to yellow, lime-green or pink. Habitat: shallow lagoons, where they may form micro-atolls, and fringing 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 occurs with P. lobata and P. australiensis on back reef margins, lagoons and fringing reefs, generally to depths of 30 m. P. lutea is commonly found from 1-15 m, with massive colonies at 3-5 m, in the South China Sea and Gulf of Siam (Titlyanov and Titlyanova 2002). In American Samoa, one colony is known to be 6.5 m tall and 41 m circumference (D. Fenner pers. comm.).

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 118 specimens in 2 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 93 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 50.5
  Temperature range (°C): 22.219 - 29.290
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.057 - 2.517
  Salinity (PPS): 33.101 - 35.506
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.488 - 4.999
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.074 - 0.495
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.049 - 5.163

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 50.5

Temperature range (°C): 22.219 - 29.290

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.057 - 2.517

Salinity (PPS): 33.101 - 35.506

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.488 - 4.999

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.074 - 0.495

Silicate (umol/l): 1.049 - 5.163
 
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 lutea

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


There are 3 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---GATCATCTTTATAATGTAATTGTTACAGCACACGCTTTTATTATGATCTTTTTTTTGGTTATGCCAGTGATGATAGGGGGATTTGGGAATTGGTTGGTTCCATTA---TATATTGGGGCACCTGATATGGCTTTCCCACGGCTTAATAACATTAGTTTTTGGCTGTTGCCCCCTGCTTTAATATTGTTATTAGGTTCTGCTTTTGTTGAACAAGGGGCGGGTACCGGATGAACGGTTTATCCTCCTCTATCTAGCATTCAGGCCCATTCTGGTGGGGCGGTGGATATG---GCTATTTTTAGTCTCCATTTAGCTGGGGTGTCCTCGATTTTGGGTGCAATGAATTTTATAACAACTATATTTAATATGAGGGCCCCTGGGCTAACGTTGAATAGAATGCCCTTATTTGTGTGGTCTATCTTGATCACTGCTTTTTTATTATTATTGTCTTTGCCCGTATTAGCGGGG---GCCATAACCATGCTTTTAACGGATAGAAACTTTAATACTACTTTCTTTGATCCTGCAGGGGGGGGAGATCCGATTTTATTTCAA
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Porites lutea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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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
Sheppard, A., Fenner, D., Edwards, A., Abrar, M. & Ochavillo, D.

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 very common throughout its range, is reported to have increased after bleaching events, 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 species is common. In the Red Sea this species is abundant in sheltered areas where huge colonies can cover over 75% of the substrate over thousands of square metres.

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
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. lutea is 1,900 (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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