Pavona minuta 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Cnidaria Anthozoa Scleractinia Agariciidae

Scientific Name: Pavona minuta Wells, 1954

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2008-01-03
Assessor(s): Hoeksema, B.W., Rogers, A. & Quibilan, M.C.
Reviewer(s): Livingstone, S., Polidoro, B. & Smith, J.
The most important known threat for this species is extensive reduction of coral reef habitat due to a combination of threats, however, this species is also moderately susceptible to bleaching and crown-of-thorns starfish predation. Specific population trends are unknown but population reduction can be inferred from estimated habitat loss (Wilkinson 2004). It is widespread and uncommon throughout its range 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 22% 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, since this population reduction estimate is close to a threatened threshold, and because this species is moderately susceptible to a number of threats, it is likely to be one of the species lost on some reefs currently at the critical stage of degradation and therefore is Near Threatened. Predicted threats from climate change and ocean acidification make it important to reassess this species in 10 years or sooner, particularly if the species is actually observed to disappear from reefs currently at the critical stage of reef degradation.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:In the Indo-West Pacific, this species is found in the central Indian Ocean, the central Indo-Pacific, Eastern Australia, and the oceanic west Pacific. Rodrigues (Fenner et al. 2004) Indian Ocean (Fenner pers. comm.).

In the Eastern Tropical Pacific region, the species is present in: Mexico: Revillagigedo Archipelago, Cabo Pulmo (Reyes-Bonilla and Lopez-Perez 1998, Glynn and Ault 2000, Reyes-Bonilla 2003, Reyes-Bonilla et al. 2005); Panamá: Coiba Archipelago; recorded as Pavona cf. minuta (Guzman et al. 2003), and Gulf of Chiriqui (Guzman et al. in prep.); Clipperton Atoll (Glynn et al. 1996, Glynn and Ault 2000).
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Australia; Fiji; Guam; India; Indonesia; Japan; Kiribati; Malaysia; Marshall Islands; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Myanmar; Nauru; New Caledonia; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Samoa; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Vanuatu; Wallis and Futuna
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central; Pacific – eastern central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):25
Upper depth limit (metres):6
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This is an uncommon species.

In the Eastern Tropical Pacific region the relative abundance of Pavona minuta is as follows:

Abundant: Clipperton Atoll (Glynn and Ault 2000);

Common: Coiba Archipelago (Guzmán et al. 2004), and is present at 36 sites across the Gulf of Chiriqui (Guzman et al., in prep.);

Rare: Mexico including the Revillagigedo Islands (Glynn and Ault 2000; Reyes-Bonilla 2003).

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. See the Supplementary Material for further details on population decline and generation length estimates.
For further information about this species, see Corals_SupportingDoc.pdf.
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Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs in shallow, tropical reef environments. At various sites in the Gulf of Panama and Gulf of Chiriqui. Pavona minuta forms large colonies on upper reef slopes (Glynn et al. 1996). Growth forms range from hemispherical colonies (<3 m in diameter) to upright columns; in addition, on places exposed to strong turbulence, colonies are individually sculptured into a range of very different shapes (Glynn et al. 1996). The growth rates of P. minuta vary between 9.5 mm/yr and 13.8 mm/yr, at depths of 6-8 m and 16-17 m respectively (Glynn et al. 1996). The maximum size is at least 1 m. This species may be found from 6-25 m.

Occasionally, the puffer fish Arothron meleagris bites pieces of P. minuta (Glynn et al. 1996).

General genus information: Pavona is a fairly common coral that is found in most reef habitats. Some of the massive colonies are large, and the foliaceous ones may form extensive tracts (Wood 1983).
Generation Length (years):10

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species exhibited some high bleaching and significant mortality in the 1998 bleaching event in Palau (Brunno et al. 2001).

El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events are the most important source of natural disturbance controlling coral communities (Glynn 1990). Pavona species have a high sensitivity to extreme elevated temperatures that interfere with reproduction and recruitment (Glynn et al. 2000). El Niño disturbance could have perilous consequences for small populations of eastern Pacific reef corals (Glynn 1988).

Bryant et al. (1998), based on four anthropogenic factors (coastal development; overexploitation and destructive fishing practice; inland pollution and erosion, and marine pollution), estimated a high threat to coral reefs in the coast of Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. High levels of siltation caused by accelerated coastal erosion have degraded coral reefs in Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador (Glynn 2001).

Other threats (Glynn et al. 2000): small colony size; slow skeletal growth; susceptibility to Acanthaster planci predation, and infrequent asexual fragmentation. Crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) (Acanthaster planci) are found throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Red Sea. These starfish are voracious predators of reef-building corals, with a preference for branching and tabular corals such as Acropora species. Populations of the crown-of-thorns starfish have greatly increased since the 1970s and have been known to wipe out large areas of coral reef habitat. Increased breakouts of COTS has become a major threat to some species, and have contributed to the overall decline and reef destruction in the Indo-Pacific region. The effects of such an outbreak include the reduction of abundance and surface cover of living coral, reduction of species diversity and composition, and overall reduction in habitat area.

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.

Coral disease has emerged as a serious threat to coral reefs worldwide and 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 GBR 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.

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.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: All corals are listed on CITES Appendix II. Parts of the species’ range fall within Marine Protected Areas.

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., MPAs, 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. Recommended conservation measures include population surveys to monitor the effects of collecting for the aquarium trade, especially in Indonesia.

Present in multiple protected areas in the Eastern Tropical Pacific region:
Mexico: Cabo Pulmo National Park (IUCN category II), and Archipielago de Revillagigedo Biosphere Reserve (IUCN category Ia, VI).
Panama: Coiba National Park (IUCN category II); Coiba Special Zone of Marine Protection (IUCN category II), and Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection, World Heritage Site (UNESCO N (ii)(iii), C (iv)).
Included with corals in CITES appendix II.

Citation: Hoeksema, B.W., Rogers, A. & Quibilan, M.C. 2014. Pavona minuta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T132904A54158371. . Downloaded on 21 September 2017.
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