Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Fungia corals can reproduce sexually or asexually (4). During sexual reproduction, eggs and sperm are released into the water where the egg is fertilised and develops into larvae (3). Within a fortnight, the larvae will settle on to hard substrate (4). Asexually reproduced young coral, or acanthocauli, can develop from partly buried, damaged or dying parent tissue. Either way, the result is vase-shaped polyp that gradually grows into a flattened disc, attached to the substrate via a stalk (3). The stalk of the 'mushroom' eventually dissolves, and the coral becomes mobile. The newly mobile coral rests on the bottom where it will mature and reproduce. The mobility of adult Fungia corals allows them to expand the reef by moving down-slope onto the soft substratum. This is an important process in reef ecosystems as it provides a hard substrate for other corals to establish and shelter for other invertebrates (3) (4). Fungia corals are abundant on unstable substrates and in volatile environments, uninhabited by many other coral species, and are able to withstand sedimentation, breakage and immersion by freshwater for short periods of time. To survive in such environments, Fungia corals are particularly successful in their ability to repair and regenerate their tissues and skeleton. When repair is impossible, asexual reproduction allows them to repopulate an area following a catastrophe (5). When Fungi are in immediate contact with other hard corals, they secrete a mucus that can damage coral tissues and prevents the over growth of these neighbouring corals. This mucus also plays a role in removing sediment from the coral, and facilitating in food capture (4). Fungia corals have been observed feeding on jellyfish, which may be their main food source, and is possibly the reason why these corals possess such large mouths. Occasionally, parasites reside inside the mouth; one particular parasite species, Fungiacava eilantensis, is found nowhere else in the world (3).
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Description

Rather than forming colonies like most other corals, Fungia corals are usually solitary and generally free-living; that is, they are not attached to the substrate (except for juveniles). They are flat or dome-shaped, and either circular or elongate in outline (2). All species have wide slit-like mouths in the centre and short, tapered and widely spaced tentacles that are usually only extended at night. Very young Fungia (called acanthocauli) bear little resemblance to the adult form; they are shaped like flattened discs and are attached to the substrate via a stalk (3). Their resemblance to mushrooms gives these corals their common name.
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Distribution

Range

Occurs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, mostly restricted to tropical and subtropical latitudes, except for F. scutoria which is found in high latitude reefs (3).
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Description

Corals are solitary (except for F. simplex and occasionally other species), free-living (except for juveniles), flat or done-shaped, circular or elongate in outline, with a central mouth. Septa have large or small, rounded or pointed teeth, costae consist mostly of rows of spines. The disc often has pits between the costae on the lower surface. Polyps are usually extended only at night and have short widely spaced tentacles. (Veron, 1986 <57>)
  • Veron, J.E.N. (1986). Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. Angus & Robertson Publishers, London.
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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 3 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 18 - 581
  Temperature range (°C): 10.506 - 10.506
  Nitrate (umol/L): 26.568 - 26.568
  Salinity (PPS): 34.455 - 34.455
  Oxygen (ml/l): 1.582 - 1.582
  Phosphate (umol/l): 2.103 - 2.103
  Silicate (umol/l): 57.654 - 57.654

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 18 - 581
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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The preferred substrates for Fungia corals are live coral and rubble, and they are more abundant on outer reef slopes than in lagoons (4). As they are free-living, and therefore readily moved by waves, Fungia are usually found below the depth of strong wave action. It is especially common on the slopes of fringing reefs where many species are usually found together (3).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:6Public Records:0
Specimens with Sequences:2Public Species:0
Specimens with Barcodes:2Public BINs:0
Species:4         
Species With Barcodes:1         
          
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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Fungia

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Genomic DNA is available from 3 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at Queensland Museum
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Genomic DNA is available from 16 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Status

Listed on Appendix II of CITES (1).
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Threats

Fungia corals face the many threats that are impacting coral reefs globally. It is estimated that 20 percent of the world's coral reefs have already been effectively destroyed and show no immediate prospects of recovery, and 24 percent of the world's reefs are under imminent risk of collapse due to human pressures. These human impacts include poor land management practices that are releasing more sediment, nutrients and pollutants into the oceans and stressing the fragile reef ecosystem. Over fishing has 'knock-on' effects that results in the increase of macro-algae that can out-compete and smother corals, and fishing using destructive methods physically devastates the reef. A further potential threat is the increase of coral bleaching events, as a result of global climate change (6). Fungia corals may also potentially be threatened by coral harvesting. Fungia species are most popular in the dead coral trade, for use as ornaments or jewellery, rather than being traded live for aquariums. It is one of the four genera that are most frequently traded in the dead coral trade (7).
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Management

Conservation

Fungia corals are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that trade in this species should be carefully regulated (1). Indonesia and Fiji have export quotas in place for this species (1). Fungia corals will form part of the marine community in many marine protected areas (MPAs), which offer coral reefs a degree of protection, and there are many calls from non-governmental organisations for larger MPAs to ensure the persistence of these unique and fascinating ecosystems (6).
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Wikipedia

Fungia

Fungia is a genus of mushroom, disc or plate corals in the family Fungiidae. Members of the genus are found growing on reefs in the Indo-Pacific.[2]

Description[edit source | edit]

Fungia sp.

Corals in the genus Fungia are mostly solitary, some attaining 30 centimetres (12 in) in diameter. However Fungia simplex is colonial.[1] The juveniles attach themselves to rock but larger individuals detach themselves and become free living. They are found in various bright colours including white, pink, red, purple, blue and yellow and are popular with keepers of reef aquariums.[3] The discs are either round or oval and the central mouth, which is surrounded by tentacles, may be a slit. The polyp sits in a calcareous cup, the corallite. The septae are vertical skeletal elements inside the corallite wall and the costae join the septae and continue outside the corallite. In the genus Fungia, both the septae and costae are robust and the spines and teeth found on them are characteristic of the different species. Members of the genus Fungia may be confused with specimens of the related genus Cycloseris but the latter are always free living, even as juveniles, while the former bear a scar showing where they were attached when young.[2]

Species[edit source | edit]

The World Register of Marine Species currently lists the following species:[1]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ a b c Martinez, Olga (2012). "Fungia Lamarck, 1801". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  2. ^ a b Fungia The Coral Hub. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  3. ^ Fungia coral species Retrieved 2011-12-13.
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