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Millepora braziliensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CNIDARIA HYDROZOA MILLEPORINA MILLEPORIDAE

Scientific Name: Millepora braziliensis
Species Authority: Verrill 1868

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Obura, D., Fenner, D., Hoeksema, B., Devantier, L. & Sheppard, C.
Reviewer(s): Livingstone, S., Polidoro, B. & Smith, J. (Global Marine Species Assessment)
Justification:
This poorly known species is endemic to the western Caribbean, off the coast of Brazil. There is little known about its distribution, population, habitat requirements, or specific threats. It is listed as Data Deficient. More research is needed as this species may be listed in a threatened category if more information was available.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is restricted to the western Atlantic off the coast of Brazil.
Countries:
Native:
Brazil
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no population information known for this species.

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 is poorly known. 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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): 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 are 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. 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.

Conservation Actions [top]

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.

Citation: Obura, D., Fenner, D., Hoeksema, B., Devantier, L. & Sheppard, C. 2008. Millepora braziliensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 November 2014.
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