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Agaricia undata

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CNIDARIA ANTHOZOA SCLERACTINIA AGARICIIDAE

Scientific Name: Agaricia undata
Species Authority: (Ellis and Solander 1786)
Common Name(s):
English Scroll 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:
There is not enough species specific information available to make an assessment for this species. It will be important to reassess this species once information has been gathered because of predicted threats from climate change and ocean acidification.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs in the Caribbean in the Greater Antilles, and from Yucatan, Mexico to Venezuela and the southern Gulf of Mexico. The precise limits of the distribution range are unclear. This species is also found in Brazil.
Countries:
Native:
Bahamas; Belize; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Brazil; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominican Republic; Guadeloupe; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Mexico; Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire); Nicaragua; Panama; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Common, but at low abundances in the southern and western Caribbean; uncommon in the northern Caribbean. This species is possibly rare in Brazil.

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. Follow the link below for further details on population decline and generation length estimates.
For further information about this species, see Corals_SupportingDoc.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in the fore reef, deep water habitats below 20 m. Recorded to depths of 80 m (Reed 1985).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threats to this species may include disease, bleaching and high sedimentation, based on the susceptibility displayed by congenerics.

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. It may be offered limited protection by MPAs, such as Hol Chan Marine Reserve (Belize). In US waters, it is illegal to harvest corals for commercial purposes. There is a need for more quantitative information on the status of the populations in deeper habitats.

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.

Citation: Aronson, R., Bruckner, A., Moore, J., Precht, B. & E. Weil 2008. Agaricia undata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 17 September 2014.
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