Fungia curvata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Cnidaria Anthozoa Scleractinia Fungiidae

Scientific Name: Fungia curvata (Hoeksema, 1989)
Cycloseris curvata Verril, 1870
Cycloseris elegans Verril, 1870
Fungia elegans Verril, 1870

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A4c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Cortés, J., Edgar, G., Chiriboga, A., Hoeksema, B., Wood, E., Rogers, A. & Quibilan, M.
Reviewer(s): Livingstone, S., Polidoro, B. & Smith, J. (Global Marine Species Assessment)
This species has a disjunct distribution and is rare but can be locally common. Parts of the range have suffered severe declines, specifically in the Persian Gulf and there are records of bleaching in the East Pacific. Specific population trends are unknown but population reduction can be inferred from declines in habitat quality based on the combined estimates of both destroyed reefs and reefs at the critical stage of degradation within its range (Wilkinson 2004). Its threat susceptibility increases the likelihood of being lost within one generation in the future from reefs at a critical stage. Therefore, the estimated habitat degradation and loss of 39% over three generation lengths (21 years) is the best inference of population reduction and meets the threshold for Vulnerable under Criterion A4c. It will be important to reassess this species in 10 years time because of predicted threats from climate change and ocean acidification.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The distribution of the species is disjunct.

In the Eastern Tropical Pacific region Fungia curvata has been reported from México: Baja California, Baja California Sur, Nayarit and Colima (Revillagigedo Islands included) (Reyes-Bonilla et al 2005); Costa Rica: Bahía Culebra (Cortés and Jiménez 2003, Cortés and Guzmán 1997), Puerto Jimenez (Cortés and Guzmán 1997), and Cocos Island (Cortés and Guzmán 1997, Glynn and Ault 2000); Panamá: Gulf of Panamá and Gulf of Chiriquí (Glynn and Maté 1997, Glynn 1997, Glynn and Ault 2000, Maté 2003); Colombia: Gorgona Island (Zapata and Varagas-Ángel 2003, Glynn 1997, Glynn and Ault 2000, Reyes 2000); Ecuador: Mainland Ecuador and the Galápagos Archipelago (Glynn 1997, Glynn and Ault 2000, Glynn 2003).

In the Indo-West Pacific (Hickman 2005), this species is found in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, southwestern Indian Ocean, central Indo-Pacific, north and west and south Australia, South-east Asia, and East China Sea.
Countries occurrence:
Australia; Bahrain; Colombia; Comoros; Costa Rica; Djibouti; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Eritrea; Guadeloupe; Honduras; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Japan; Jordan; Kenya; Kuwait; Madagascar; Malaysia; Mayotte; Mexico; Mozambique; Nicaragua; Oman; Pakistan; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Seychelles; Singapore; Somalia; Sudan; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; United Arab Emirates; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southeast; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):73
Upper depth limit (metres):3
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In México this species is rare throughout its distribution (Reyes-Bonilla 2003). However, this species can be very abundant in some locations (e.g., San José Island: thousand of animals within 1 ha) and populations are probably stable in Mexico (Reyes-Bonilla pers. comm.).

In Costa Rica, Glynn and Ault (2000) considered the species rare in mainland Costa Rica and Cocos Island. At present, Bahía Culebra is the only known site in Costa Rica with live polyps (Cortés and Guzmán 1997, Cortés and Jiménez 2003, Cortés pers. comm.) with a mean percentage cover of 0.05 in 12 transects (Jiménez 2001).

In Panamá, Unnamed Island (Secas Island group) in Gulf of Chiriquí is the only known site with live animals (Maté 2003), with two specimens found at 14 m depth in 2001 (Maté 2003).

This species is considered rare in Colombia and Ecuador (Glynn and Ault 2000, Glynn 2003). Devils Crown (Floreana Island) in the Galápagos is the only known site with living animals. At present, fewer individuals are found than in the 1970s. According to Feingold (1996), the population is very small, comprising only 30-40 individuals.

In the Indo West Pacific, this species is locally very abundant in the Persian Gulf (but may have been affected by recent bleaching events), in the Gulf of California and in the Galápagos. This species can reproduce by breaking apart along suture lines, and in this way it can reach high densities.

Parts of the range have suffered severe declines, specifically in the Persian Gulf and there are records of bleaching in the East Pacific.

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 particularly susceptible to bleaching, disease, and other threats and therefore population decline is based on both the percentage of destroyed reefs and critical reefs that are likely to be destroyed within 20 years (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 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:Fungia curvata is a free living coral that occurs on soft inter-reef, coarse sand, coral rubble and sometimes reef substrata, at depths of between 3 to 73 m depth (Hickman 2005, Feingold 1996, Reyes-Bonilla et al. 2005).

In Mexico, F. curvata is most common at depths of 20 to 40 m (Reyes-Bonilla 2006), while in the Galapagos the species occurs at depths of 10 to 20 m (Wells 1983). It is a free-living polyp and can reach a maximum of 8.5 cm diameter. It reproduces asexually in some areas by breaking itself apart.

According to Feingold (1996), Fungia spp. can survive extended periods (>180 days) in the bleached state.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Robinson (1985) found that Fungia species bleached but did not die during the 1982-83 El Niño event at Devils Crown, Floreana, Galápagos. According to Feingold (1996), survival of Fungia species was due to cool water that periodically flushed over the habitat, which mitigated the effects of elevated temperatures caused by the ENSO event.

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: This species is protected in a number of Marine Protected Areas within its range.

All corals are listed on CITES Appendix II.

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.

Citation: Cortés, J., Edgar, G., Chiriboga, A., Hoeksema, B., Wood, E., Rogers, A. & Quibilan, M. 2008. Fungia curvata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T133036A3567705. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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