Overview

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
Cairns, 2000 YES MINERAL ARAGONITE
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is found in the northern Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, and in the east Atlantic on the coast of west Africa.
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Physical Description

Type Information

Neotype for Madrepora poculata Ellis & Solander, 1786
Catalog Number: USNM 80350
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Dry
Locality: Atlantic City, East Of, New Jersey, United States, North Atlantic Ocean
  • Neotype: Peters & Cairns, S. D. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 101 (2): 235-245.; Ellis & Solander. 1786. 165.
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Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is found on rocky shores and jetty pilings, and it is tolerant of a wide range of temperatures. A. poculata is distinct from its Caribbean relatives by exhibiting facultative symbiosis with zooxanthellae (Jacques and Pilson 1980), and can be both zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate.

Corals in this family are small, non-reef-building corals that may be found in shallow waters. They tend to grow under ledges and rocks in both shallow and deep waters. This cryptic habit, together with their small size, means that they are readily overlooked (Wood 1983).

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 355 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 32 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 2 - 796
  Temperature range (°C): 7.239 - 26.534
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.501 - 25.993
  Salinity (PPS): 32.616 - 36.293
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.311 - 5.755
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.081 - 1.785
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.805 - 19.100

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 2 - 796

Temperature range (°C): 7.239 - 26.534

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.501 - 25.993

Salinity (PPS): 32.616 - 36.293

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.311 - 5.755

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.081 - 1.785

Silicate (umol/l): 0.805 - 19.100
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.
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Depth range based on 355 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 32 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 2 - 796
  Temperature range (°C): 7.239 - 26.534
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.501 - 25.993
  Salinity (PPS): 32.616 - 36.293
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.311 - 5.755
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.081 - 1.785
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.805 - 19.100

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 2 - 796

Temperature range (°C): 7.239 - 26.534

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.501 - 25.993

Salinity (PPS): 32.616 - 36.293

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.311 - 5.755

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.081 - 1.785

Silicate (umol/l): 0.805 - 19.100
 
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
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
This species is widespread and common. It can live in a range of temperatures in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate regions. It can live as a zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate form and is not restricted to coral reef habitat. It is listed as Least Concern.
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Population

Population
This is a common species.

There is no specific population information for this species.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
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 disease, and a number of localized threats. The severity of these combined threats to the global population of each individual species is not known.

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). 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 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.
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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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