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Acropora akajimensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CNIDARIA ANTHOZOA SCLERACTINIA ACROPORIDAE

Scientific Name: Acropora akajimensis
Species Authority: Veron 1990

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Richards, Z., Delbeek, J.C., Lovell, E., Bass, D., Aeby, G. & Reboton, C.
Reviewer(s): Livingstone, S., Polidoro, B. & Smith, J. (Global Marine Species Assessment)
Justification:
This species is recently described. Therefore there is very little information available on its distribution, abundance, habitat preferences, and susceptibility to threats. This species is listed as Data Deficient. However, this species could fall into a threatened category if more information was known. Research on these aspects of this species’ ecology is recommended. This assessment should be re-evaluated in 10 years to include addition information and to determine the effects of continued or increased threats from climate change and ocean acidification.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found in the central Indo-Pacific, Southeast Asia, Japan and the East China Sea, Raja Ampats (West Papaua, Indonesia) and the Solomon Islands. There is also a record from New Caledonia (Fenner, pers. comm.).
Countries:
Native:
Indonesia; Japan; New Caledonia; Philippines; Taiwan, Province of China
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is occasionally locally common, but is usually rare.

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.
For further information about this species, see Corals_SupportingDoc.pdf.
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Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs on shallow reef slopes and flats. This species is found from 0.5-20 m.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Major threats are global warming and predation. Members of this genus have a low resistance and low tolerance to bleaching and disease, and are slow to recover. Acanthaster planci, the crown-of-thorns starfish, has been observed preferentially preying upon corals of the genus Acropora (Colgan 1987). This species is has a plate form which is preferred by COT.

Acropora are in the top three genera collected for the aquarium trade. It is not known to what extent this particular species is collected, or the extent of threat this presents.

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.

Citation: Richards, Z., Delbeek, J.C., Lovell, E., Bass, D., Aeby, G. & Reboton, C. 2008. Acropora akajimensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 November 2014.
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