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Porites colonensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CNIDARIA ANTHOZOA SCLERACTINIA PORITIDAE

Scientific Name: Porites colonensis
Species Authority: Zlatarski 1990
Common Name(s):
English Honycomb Plate Coral

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Aronson, R., Bruckner, A., Moore, J., Precht, B. & E. Weil
Reviewer(s): Livingstone, S., Polidoro, B. & Smith, J. (Global Marine Species Assessment)
Justification:
This species is listed as Data Deficient as there is no information on the current status of the populations or extent of decline. Since this species has a restricted range and is uncommon, additional information may result in the species being listed in a threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Although reports have indicated that this species is distributed throughout the wider Caribbean, the species is restricted to the Caribbean coastal waters off Costa Rica and Panama. It may also be present off Colombia.
Countries:
Native:
Colombia; Costa Rica; Panama
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is uncommon, and generally occurs at very low abundances.

There is no species specific population information available for this species. However, there is evidence that overall coral reef habitat has declined globally.

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs from 2-25 m in fore-reef and back-reef environments, channels, and lagoons. It favours cryptic environments, including crevices, under ledges, and shaded habitats.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Shallow-water populations are susceptible to typical threats such as pollution, bleaching, and high sedimentation, which is probably leading to localized declines particularly in coastal areas undergoing land clearing and development. Algal overgrowth is likely to interfere with recruitment and growth.

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). 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.

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.

Conservation Actions [top]

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.

Citation: Aronson, R., Bruckner, A., Moore, J., Precht, B. & E. Weil 2008. Porites colonensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 31 July 2014.
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