Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

colonial, calcareous skeleton
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Range Description

This species is widespread in the Caribbean.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.0 of 5

Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Widepsread distribution in the tropical western Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico, southern Florida, Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Belize, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Lesser Antilles, Bonaire and Curacao. A89LEW01FCUS: Caribbean. A87DUS00FCUS: 1-48% of total reef surface. J89JAA00FCUS, A82DAV00FCUS: Dry Tortugas. J88WHE00FCUS, B84JAA00FCUS, A87DUS00FCUS, A79JAA00FCUS: Florida keys. A82CAI01FCUS: Belize. A77HOP01FCUS: eastern Gulf of Mexico. A88LAN01FCUS: Bahamas. A88FEN00FCUS, A81JOR01FCUS, A91FEN01FCUS: Yucatan, Mexico. A74KUH01FCUS, B82ZLA01FCUS: Cuba. A63ALM01FCUS, A70PRE01FCUS: Puerto Rico. A79DUN01FCUS, A83ROG01FCUS, A87TOM01FCUS, A68ADA01FCUS, A72ROB01FCUS: lesser Antilles. A74SCO01FCUS, A78FOC01FCUS, A75VAN00FCUS: Curacao and Bonaire. A91LEW02FCUS, A91LEW03FCUS: Barbados. A84LAS02FCUS: Panama.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.0 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits shallow water reef tops, generally to depths of about 15 m. It is usually found in areas with some water movement, and is common in areas with constant surge (Humann and DeLoach 2006).

Millepora species are generally found in inshore areas characterized by turbidity, and exhibit a tolerance for siltation. They often occur in clear offshore sites (Lovell pers. comm.)

Systems
  • Marine
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat Type: Marine

Comments: Restricted to reef communities with a restricted depth range (0.5-10 m) in areas of high wave energy.

A89LEW01FCUS: 0.5-10 m, hard bottom, surf zone, reef crest, seaward reef flat, inner spur and groove zone, with strong to heavy wave action, surf, turbulent water movement and swell. A84WEE01FCUS: surf zone, reef flat. A81JOR01FCUS: breaker zone. A68ADA01FCUS: fringing reefs. A78TOM01FCUS: reef flat and spur and groove. A79DUN01FCUS: leeward patch reefs. J88WHE00FCUS: spur and groove. U92SUL01FCUS: transitional reefs.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Depth range based on 1707 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1101 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): -0.5 - 105.75
  Temperature range (°C): 19.819 - 28.067
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.024 - 8.028
  Salinity (PPS): 34.667 - 36.545
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.986 - 4.746
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.020 - 0.379
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.805 - 4.727

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): -0.5 - 105.75

Temperature range (°C): 19.819 - 28.067

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.024 - 8.028

Salinity (PPS): 34.667 - 36.545

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.986 - 4.746

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.020 - 0.379

Silicate (umol/l): 0.805 - 4.727
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

SEDENTARY

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: Information needed on number of occurrences in the tropical western Atlantic.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Abundance

1000 - 2500 individuals

Comments: Restricted to shallower reef communities such as spur and groove reefs and transitional reefs.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

General Ecology

A72OTT01FCUS, A88WIT01FCUS: preyed upon by the polychaete Hermodice caruncullata. A84LAS02FCUS, A90GHI01FCUS, A90WIL01FCUS: susceptible to bleaching (loss of zooxanthellae) due to adverse environmental conditions, with fungal invasion reported. A79JAA00FCUS: bleaching common and slow recovery. A76STR01FCUS: growth seriously affected by decreased light. A88WIT01FCUS: branch tip vertical growth measured at 8 mm/yr. A91LEW02FCUS: survival of broken fragments not size-dependent. A91LEW03FCUS: positive correlation between blade height and number of skeletal bands; growth increment measured at 22.4 mm/yr.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

A88WIT01FCUS: may be gonochoric with greatly reduced recruitment rates.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Genomic DNA is available from 2 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at Australian Museum, Sydney
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Ocean Genome Legacy

Source: Ocean Genome Resource

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

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
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). This species is widespread in the Caribbean, is common within its range, is affected by bleaching but may recover 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 10% 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.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable

Reasons: Widespread distribution in the tropical western Atlantic but is restricted to shallower (< 10 m) reef communities. Numerous incidences of damage caused by anchors and boat groundings.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
This species is abundant to common in Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean (Humann and DeLoach 2006).

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
Stable
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Information needed on status and trend of extant populations.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
This species has been reduced from historical baselines, but probably not much more than 10% except locally on some reefs. This species has been affected in past bleaching events but appears to recover more rapidly than most scleractinian species (Precht, pers comm).

This genus is generally not found in aquarium trade, but is sometimes collected for curio and jewellery trade. This genus is generally susceptible to bleaching. They are some of the first hard corals to bleach but can be resilient, being some of the first to recruit after the bleaching.

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). 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.

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.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Degree of Threat: B : Moderately threatened throughout its range, communities provide natural resources that when exploited alter the composition and structure of the community over the long-term, but are apparently recoverable

Comments: Incidence of disease not reported but is susceptible to moderate sedimentation, bleaching, anchor damage, boat groundings and diver-related damage.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
These non-scleractinian corals are listed under Appendix I and II of CITES. There are no records in the CITES database of exports of non-scleractinians by weight. 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.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Biological Research Needs: Data needed on reproduction and recruitment patterns. Information needed on susceptibility to sedimentation, disease and bleaching.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Protection: Few to several (1-12) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: Many occurrences in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Biscayne National Park, Florida.

Needs: Mooring buoys should be installed in marine protected areas.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Comments: May have been collected for trade (outlawed throughout most of the Caribbean now).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Weerdt (1984) provides a systematic description, synonomy, and notes on species polymorphisms; closely related to M. alcicornis. Scatterday (1974) listed species as M. alcicornis forma complanata.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!